No. 11 Men’s Hockey Splits Home Series against American International College
On Thursday, the Blue and White netted a 7-5 victory against the AIC Yellow Jackets.
The Jackets struck first, just five minutes into the first period, a lead which lasted for all of seven minutes before Trevor Hamilton (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.) utilized a power play to his advantage and slammed in a rebound in front of AIC’s net.
Roughly 30 seconds before the end of the period, veteran Andrew Sturtz (Buffalo, N.Y.) used a pass from Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) to secure a shorthanded shot for the 2-1 lead just before the buzzer rang.
Power plays were favoring the Blue and White this game as sophomore standout Liam Folkes (Scarborough, Ontario) acted fast after Brandon Biro (Sherwood Park, Alberta) won the faceoff. Folkes gained control of the puck and fired in a shot of his own to bring the score to 3-1 just five minutes into the second.
AIC struck back just two minutes later to bring the Yellow Jackets within one point of the lead, but freshman newbie Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis.) brought the squad back to live with his first career goal, a sneaky shot through the five-hole for the 4-2 lead.
Biro kept the momentum flowing on an odd man rush featuring Denis Smirnov (Moscow, Russia) in which Biro hammered in the goal that would give the Lions a big 5-2 lead, if only for a moment.
The Jackets roared back less than 30 seconds later with the final goal before intermission, sending the squad into the locker room knowing they needed to step up their game.
Sophomore superstar Smirnov wasted no time in helping out the team as he clinched the Lions’ sixth goal of the night just 49 seconds into the third period.
Kris Myllari (Kanata, Ontario) added the final Blue and White goal of the night just four minutes later, but the Yellow Jackets had a few more tricks up their sleeves, and added two goals of their own to round out the game as a tense 7-5 Nittany Lion victory.
Sophomore goalie Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) made 28 saves for the Lions, who had 40 shots on the AIC goalie.
The Blue and White squad barely had time to catch their breath with another AIC game the very next evening.
A far lower-scoring game than the evening before, the Lions would ultimately end in a 3-2 overtime defeat against the Yellow Jackets.
Goalie Chris Funkey (Orland Park, Ill.) made 21 saves for the Lions, who had 31 shots against the Jackets.
Freshman Hults once again was a difference-maker for the Lions as he opened up the scoring nine minutes into the first period thanks to the help of Smirnov and senior Erik Autio (Espoo, Finland).
The game continued on with Penn State clinging to a 1-0 lead until 15 minutes into the second period, when AIC fired in the tying shot, sending the teams to the locker room each hungry for a victory.
Sophomore Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.) got some help from Smirnov and Hamilton as he found the back of the net off a wrist shot eight minutes into the third period.
The Yellow Jackets simply would not give in, and found their way past Jones 12 minutes into the third.
After much scrambling by both teams to be the victor in regulation, the final buzzer rang on a 2-2 tie, sending the teams into overtime.
It would be AIC who would secure the golden goal in four minutes, thus splitting the series.
Next weekend is Michigan weekend for Penn State, who will host the Wolverines on Friday and Saturday at 7 and 8 p.m., respectively. Come out to watch what is sure to be one of the most exciting games in college hockey yet this season!