Penn State Men’s Hockey: Stunning 5-4 Comeback Win Over Northern Michigan


Chaos ruled at Pegula Ice Arena Friday night after Penn State (12-7-3) launched a four-goal comeback to beat Northern Michigan 5-4 and shocking the Wildcats (9-9-5) for the team’s first series-opener win since the beginning of December.

Dylan Richard’s three point night and Scott Conway’s late third period goal stole the win from the Wildcats after Northern Michigan put up four straight goals in the second period and looked to coast to an easy victory on two goals from defenseman Barrett Kaib.

Junior Casey Bailey started the rally with his signature one-timer to end the middle frame. On the power play, Curtis Loik’s pass came to Bailey at the top of the left-hand circle and the forward made no mistake, firing the puck past Northern Michigan goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom to cut the Wildcat lead to 4-2.

“We needed something to get us going,” head coach Guy Gadowsky said. “You get a goal scorer like that to put you on his back, and that’s what it felt like a little bit. Not only was that a big goal at a very big time, it was a big time goal.”

“There’s not a lot of guys that could put it where he did on a one-timer with that velocity,” he said. “That was pretty impressive.”

An early penalty kill 2:24 into the third looked to doom the Nittany Lion comeback, but a 4-3 shorthanded tally — their third of the year — from Richard sparked new life into Penn State. Just over a minute into the infraction, Eric Scheid blocked a shot defending the Wildcat advantage and took off down the ice towards Dahlstrom, who made the initial stop on the breakaway shot, but could not pick up Richard tailing for the rebound that found its way into the back of the net.

Penn State’s buzzing in the offensive zone paid off in full on David Glen’s tying deflection goal to knot the game at 4-4. With 5:40 remaining in the game, David Thompson’s shot on net from the right point deflected down off of Glen’s stick in the slot that was no chance for Dahlstrom looking high.

Friday’s game was the third Friday in a row Penn State was down heading into the third and sparked a comeback late. This is the first win of the streak.

Freshman Scott Conway finished the stellar Penn State rally from four down with his fifth of the season, poking home a juicy Dahlstrom rebound with the netminder out of position out of a scramble to blow the roof off of Pegula and send the Nittany Lions off with a 5-4 victory.

The game started all Penn State, with the Nittany Lions netting the first goal less than two minutes into the evening match. Wildcat Reed Seckel sent Conway sprawling on a tripping call while the freshman was trying to exit the zone, putting the Nittany Lions on the power play. Thirty-eight seconds into the minor, Loik’s shot on Northern Michigan goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom rebounded off the goaltender’s pads right to Richard, who buried the puck glove side for the 1-0 score.

After a dominant first, the Nittany Lions got a bit lackadaisical, leading to four unanswered Wildcat scores to put the game almost out of reach for Penn State.

“We’re really getting frustrated with how we come out,” Gadowsky said. “It seems every time we play really well in the first we come out very, very flat in the second.

“It’s getting a little frustrating but all in all, a big win.”

Northern Michigan evened the score 1-1 on Kaib’s third tally of the season 1:41 into the second. Dominik Shine’s cross ice pass from the right circle hit Kaib alone in front and he buried it quickly past Penn State netminder Matt Skoff before he could get down in the butterfly to save the shot.

Two minutes later, the Wildcats took the 2-1 lead on a shot from a Ryan Kesti point blank shot without a defender on him to give Northern Michigan their first lead of the game.

Sami Saiminen made it 3-1 for Northern Michigan off a scramble in front and he was able to poke it through Skoff and home to double the Wildcat lead with 8:06 to play in the middle frame.

Skoff was pulled after letting in one final goal, a misplayed glove save that deflected the puck up and over the junior’s shoulder on a long shot from Kaib for the 4-1 Wildcat score. The starter made 15 saves and allowed four goals in his no-decision.

“We didn’t play for him or for each other,” Gadowsky said. “We’ve done that to him a few times now and we’re getting frustrated.”

In his place came backup PJ Musico, and the senior stopped all 11 shots faced — 10 alone in the third — for his first win of the season in relief, capping off their second win of the season when the team is trailing their opponents after two periods.

Penn State outshot the Wildcats by a wide margin 53-30 with 21 of those coming through the first 20 minutes of the match. Northern Michigan played a far less disciplined game than Penn State, costing them in the end after giving up two power play goals on six chances. The Nittany Lions gave up none on three.

The Nittany Lions will rematch the Wildcats at 4:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon with their second annual Teddy Bear Toss benefiting THON. Another specialty jersey will be worn, this time with “THON” inscribed on the nameplates and an overall simpler look. The game will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.