Penn State Men’s Hockey: Split Weekend vs. No. 4 UMass Lowell


After a week off, the Nittany Lions returned to action in Massachusetts versus the No. 4 team in the country in UMass Lowell and came away from the two game series with a 5-3 loss on Friday night and a 4-1 dominant victory on Saturday to hand the River Hawks just their second loss of the season.

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Penn State (6-2-2) surrendered an early lead to UMass (7-2-2) in the first period of Friday’s game that they were never able to dig out of. Robert Francis tacked on his third goal of the season on a slap shot past starting Nittany Lion goaltender Matt Skoff with 11:13 gone in the frame to put the River Hawks up 1-0. Captain Zach Kamrass added his first goal of the year with less than two minutes to play in the frame on a shot from the slot that beat Skoff to double UMass’ lead heading into the first intermission.

Casey Bailey struck for his sixth of the season 17 seconds into the middle period off a point shot from teammate Taylor Holstrom. Bailey picked up the lose rebound behind the River Hawk defense and made a move on goaltender Kevin Boyle and put a back hand top shelf over the netminder’s shoulder to cut the UMass lead in half, 2-1.

UMass wasted no time in responding and just over a minute later, John Edwardh gave the River Hawks back their two-goal lead on a defensive breakdown that left the forward alone in front of Skoff and he took advantage of the play for his second score of the year.

The River Hawks made it 4-1 with 11:39 to play in the period on Francis’ second tally of the night off a face off win from Chris Maniccia. The goal was the fourth of the night for Skoff and he was replaced by sophomore Eamon McAdam in net after the Francis score. McAdam saved nine shots in his first appearance in net for the Nittany Lions this season.

The sophomore allowed his first goal of the season with 8:21 gone in the third period. CJ Smith tacked on the 5-1 score for the River Hawks for his third goal of the year.

Penn State finally got back on the scoreboard with just under nine minutes to play in the game on former captain Tommy Olczyk’s second of the season. With Curtis Loik fighting along the boards behind the net, the junior fed a pass to a wide open Olczyk in front and he back handed it glove side on Boyle for the 5-2 tally.

David Goodwin capped the scoring for the Nittany Lions with 1:15 to play in the game. His fourth of the year came from Taylor Holstrom’s no look pass to the sophomore in the slot and he fired a quick puck home on Boyle to finish the game 5-3.

Despite the loss, the Nittany Lions outshot the River Hawks 37-30 through three periods. Skoff ended the night with eight saves on 12 shots and McAdam with 17 stops on 18 shots.

Saturday’s game held a much different feel for Penn State, as the Nittany Lions seemed to man-handle the River Hawks through the entire 60 minutes of play.

The 4-1 win against No. 4 UMass Lowell is Penn State’s highest ranked opponent they’ve defeated in their time as a Division I opponent and the first time they’ve beaten a top five team. The Nittany Lions beat No. 10 Michigan last season in February.

Bailey put up two goals for Penn State and Olczyk scored his second goal in as many games in the dominant win for the Nittany Lions. Holstrom added three assists in the historic victory as well.

The first of the game came from Bailey on the power play with 6:17 gone in the first period. Holstrom’s face off win came to Bailey between the right circle and the blue line and once there were bodies screening goaltender Jeff Smith, the junior took a hard shot that beat the netminder high on the right side of the net.

Bailey’s second, and eighth of the season, came 2:13 later with help from Holstrom and Goodwin to put Penn State up 2-0 eight and a half minutes into the game. Holstrom’s pass from behind the net hit Bailey right in his wheelhouse in front of the net to double the Nittany Lion lead.

The scoring continued in the first period for Penn State as Eric Scheid put in his sixth goal of the season with 19 seconds remaining in the first frame to give the Nittany Lions a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission. Great pressure in the offensive zone helped set up Scheid on the doorstep after David Thompson’s shot hit freshman James Robinson and goaltender Smith in front before it was put home to cap off a three goal period.

Olczyk continued Penn State’s scoring streak 47 seconds into the period off a River Hawk turnover at their own blue line as they were exiting the zone. Holstrom tacked on his third assist after causing the turnover that sprung Olczyk down the right side and beat Smith for the 4-0 lead. Smith was replaced by Boyle after allowing four goals on 14 shots through almost 21 minutes of playing time.

The River Hawks broke goaltender McAdam’s shutout with 9:30 to play in the game on the power play, but the Nittany Lions kept their stranglehold on UMass to secure the 4-1 win.

McAdam picked up his first collegiate victory in his first start since early February against No. 10 Michigan last season. The sophomore saved 24 of 25 in the win, keeping UMass to their lowest goal total in a game this year. Penn State also outshot the River Hawks 31-25 to continue their streak of outshooting opponents in every game they’ve played this season.

Next week, Penn State will start its Big Ten play in Ann Arbor against Michigan (4-5-0) with a game Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Detroit Plus and Saturday at 7:35 p.m. on Comcast Network 900.