Lions Trounce Tigers, 6-3
With 6,141 fans watching, Tommy Olczyk (Long Grove, Ill.) cinched a hat trick that led the Nittany Lions to a program-best nine-game undefeated streak at home.
It was apparent right away that Princeton was playing at a higher level than expected. Two early goals by Tommy Olcyzk allowed Penn State to start the game right, but the Tigers’ physical prowess made any further goals a difficult task. Olcyzk was well-positioned for both goals, as he deflected the first off of Erik Autio’s (Espoo, Finland) shot from the left and into the net, and then less than five minutes later on a power play, deflected a shot into the goal from Vince Pedrie (Rochester, Minn.).
The Lions cleaned up their touches in the second period and calmed their play. This was rewarded with an unassisted goal in the tenth minute by Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) and another stellar unassisted goal in the nineteenth minute by David Glen (Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta).
The Lions rounded out the second period looking strong, but not at their best. The squad looked like they were gripping their sticks too tight as passes went wide and were often poorly controlled. However, the crowd seemed confident with a 4-0 lead over the Tigers and just one period left to go.
The third period was when things began to heat up. Princeton came out with a hunger to score and they did just that. In the span of four minutes, the Tigers notched three goals, bringing the score to a nerve wracking 4-3. The panic emanated from the Nittany Lions’ bench and it was clear that they needed to quickly step up their game.
In a typical move, Princeton pulled their goalie with two minutes remaining in order to get men up on offense. However, thanks to head coach Guy Gadowski’s strong offensive crew, Tommy Olcyzk snagged his third and final goal of the game at 19:02 after beating a defender one-on-one. Just seconds later, Curtis Loik (N. Vancouver, British Columbia) scored his fifth goal of the season off of a rocket from nearly all the way down the ice. This secured the 6-3 lead that the Lions needed just as the clock ran out of time.
Goalie Matt Skoff (McKees Rocks, Pa.) had a stellar game, saving 22 shots, many of which were one-on-one quick decisions. Skoff’s intuition and reaction time were key in keeping the squad afloat during the scary 4-3 time frame.
Despite a shaky start, the Nittany Lions rallied and came through with a win at home this past Friday night. Thanks to the sage experience of Guy Gadowski and the leadership on the ice, the Nittany Lions head into Three Rivers Classic with the confidence that they can handle any tough situation.