In their first game in 15 days, Penn State faced off against the Union Dutchmen and played to a 4-3 loss, despite a furious comeback of three unanswered goals in the second and third periods.
Penn State went on an early power play to start the first period, as 1:52 into the frame, Union’s Charlie Vasaturo went off for boarding to give the Nittany Lions an extra man advantage. The chance was wasted as Taylor Holstrom went to the box for interference, putting the teams at 4-on-4 for 14 seconds then gave Union a power play of their own. Nothing came of the chance for the Dutchmen, but at 11:11 in the first Union’s Kevin Sullivan redirected a backhander past starting Penn State goalie Matt Skoff that slid under the goaltender’s pads and through his five-hole to put the Dutchmen up 1-0. Union kept Penn State pinned in their own zone for almost a good portion of the period, controlling shots 10-6 and keeping the Nittany Lions from emerging in the neutral zone.
Union continued their domination in the second period, increasing their lead to 2-0 1:18 into the frame as Dutchman Jeff Taylor took a shot from the right point that filtered past Skoff’s pads to put Union up by two. Penn State regained some of their legs but were not able to do much against Union’s crushing defensive play. With less than five minutes left in the period, Jacob Friedman took a minor penalty for tripping that gave Union their fourth power play of the game and the Dutchmen capitalized 52 seconds later on a semi-breakaway. Philadelphia Flyers prospect and Union defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere passed to a streaking Daniel Ciampini whose original shot was stopped by Skoff but Ciampini stuck with it and backhanded it through Skoff’s five hole to put the Dutchmen up 3-0. Penn State was awarded a late power play after Union went to the box for tripping and were finally able to get on the board after Eric Scheid made some great moves past the Union defense to beat Dutchman goalie Colin Stevens and give Penn State some life, going into the second intermission down 3-1.
Penn State’s momentum extended into the third period, spending more time in the offensive zone. It payed off with 12:47 left in the period when Patrick Koudys took a shot from the top of the circles close to the blue line that blew past Stevens to close the gap on Union’s lead, 3-2. Minutes later, Pegula came alive as Kenny Brooks took a Holstrom pass from the offensive red line and quickly shot it through Stevens’ pads to even the score at three apiece. However, with 6:50 to play in the game, a turnover from Koudys in Penn State’s zone found the wide open Dutchman Max Novak in front of the net and he roofed it past Skoff to ice the game for Union, 4-3.
For a majority of the game, Union lead in shots until the middle of the third when Penn State pushed back and were only down in the shot column by two by the end of the game, 32-34. Skoff saved 30 on the night, a very good performance despite the 4 goals let in as he made multiple spread out and split saves without his stick and bailing out his defense on a few bad plays in front. The team took 6 penalties on the night as well to Union’s 4 and each team let in one goal on the extra-man advantage.
The loss drops the team to 3-6-1 on the season and Penn State will look to come back and even the series as they rematch the Dutchmen same time and place Sunday night in Pegula, their first Sunday night game this season.