Live Blog: Nittany Lions Host American International

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to in-game coverage for the 2012 Penn State Men's Hockey season.  Each week, GoPSUsports.com will provide insight from press row.  Check back often for running updates as the action unfolds.

The Nittany Lions host American International in the first NCAA Division I game in program history inside the Greenberg Ice Pavilion.

1st Period: 17:17 - Penn State 0, American International 1
On a night that Penn State men's hockey made history it was Dr. Rodney A. Erickson that opened things with the ceremonial puck drop, but American International netted the first goal when Nathan Sliwinski took a pass from Adam Pleskach and gave the visitors a 1-0 edge. Penn State posted the first three shots of the game, but it was the Yellow Jackets that struck first.

1st Period: 9:14 - Penn State 0, American International 1
The early goal has not taken any air out of the rowdy student section and the Hockey Valley crowd is sent the Nittany Lions off to a loud cheer at the first media timeout. The first PSU power play produced nine shots, including a flurry of three shots at point blank range while AIC keeper Ben Meisner was on his back. Alas no goal, but Penn State has had ample opportunity against the Yellow Jackets.

1st Period: 4:36 - Penn State 0, American International 1
The "We Are... Penn State" chants are out in full effect at the media timeout and the Nittany Lions have had plenty of chances against Meisner in the AIC net. Bryce Johnson had one of the best scoring chances, but the puck bounced off the tape of his stick as he came in front of the crease. We have also had the first errant shot make its way into catwalk along the bench side of Greenberg Ice Arena.

End of 1st Period - Penn State 0, American International 1

An early power play goal for the Yellow Jackets accounts for the lone tally in the opening period, but the home squad owns nearly twice the amount of shots (20-11) in the first game in Division I history. Bryce Johnson had one of the best scoring chances in the first period and leads the Blue and White with three shots, while Max Gardiner's wrister nearly found the net, but Meisner was able to get a glove on the attempt. What a turnout by the Hockey Valley faithful and the PSU students!

2nd Period: 15:23 - Penn State 1, American International 1
AND THERE IT IS...Cue up the Zomdie Nation! Freshman Casey Bailey was set up by Joseph Lordo and assistant captain Nate Jensen for the first goal in Penn State men's hockey history. The goal came after Max Gardiner just missed connecting with Bailey as he came off the bench and went hard towards the net.

2nd Period: 9:47 - Penn State 1, American International 2
It wasn't a power play goal, but it came during a 4-on-4 opportunity as Chris Markiewicz gave AIC the lead back with his first goal of the year. Markiewicz put home the attempt from close range, but the Nittany Lions have really controlled the play for most of the second half with 15 shots to three by the Yellow Jackets.

2nd Period: 5:05 - Penn State 1, American International 2
With the weather getting a tad chilly, AIC's Jon Puskar donates the first kindling of the season with the broken stick, but the Nittany Lions couldn't convert as the shot from Gardiner sailed wide. American International has had a handful of chances since recapturing the lead, but Matthew Skoff has turned away four opportunities and Gardiner blocked another shot from the blue line.

End 2nd Period - Penn State 1, American International 2
With a power play for the final 1:50, Penn State took six shots and watched as Jonathan Milley narrowly missed connecting with the pass from Nate Jensen at the left post. Penn State outshot the Yellow Jackets for the second straight period (22-8), but it was the 4-on-4 goal for ACI that sends them to the locker room ahead, 2-1. On the night, the Blue and White have 42 shots and goalie Matthew Skoff has made 18 saves.

3rd Period: 17:13 - Penn State 1, American International 2
Some crisp passing has led to a pair of scoring chances for the Nittany Lions in the early going of the third period. Captain Tommy Olczyk had an early chance and Mark Yanis was turned away by Meisner. The start of the final stanza has been more physical than the previous two periods, but Penn State has not let up on peppering the AIC net minder with shot after shot.

3rd Period: 11:20 - Penn State 1, American International 2
The odd man rush almost turned into the equalizer when Bailey went hard to the net after a scoring chance for the Yellow Jackets. The rookie went between two AIC defenders and let a shot go wide to the glove side. Just a minute later David Glen redirected a shot from the point by Luke Juha, but it sailed high to the glove side of Meisner. On the end of the Glen redirect play a penalty was called on Chris Markiewicz for tripping and Penn State went on their fourth power play of the evening.

3rd Period: 7:00 - Penn State 1, American International 2
A barrage of shots continued to bombard American International goalie Ben Meisner as Taylor Holstrom had a shorthanded breakaway chance that was gloved by Meisner and just a minute later George Saad's attempt went just over the crossbar. Not a minute later the Nittany Lions had another opportunity to net the game tying goal when three PSU players had a shot in front of the AIC net, but couldn't connect versus the stiff defense.

3rd Period: 6:03 - Penn State 2, American International 2
When Taylor Holstrom spun just inside the blue line, the two American International defense that flanked him gave a little bit of space and that was all that the junior needed. As Holstrom came around he sent a shot from his backhand and beat the AIC keeper to the right post to even the score. It was the 55th shot of the game for Penn State.

End of 3rd Period - Penn State 2, American International 2
Kenny Brooks, Luke Juha and Nate Jenson all had golden opportunities to send the Nittany Lions off as winners in regulation, but none of them could slip one past American International keeper. Brooks' shot was gloved by Meisner, Juha's blast off of a neutral ice turnover went high and Jenson nearly deflected an attempt in by was brushed away by the AIC keeper.

Overtime: 3:44 - Penn State 2, American International 2
American International had the opening chance of the sudden death overtime when Nick Campanale let a shot fly from the blue line, but Matthew Skoff smothered the attempt. Off of the ensuing faceoff, George Saad had his second scoring opportunity of the night but was unable to control the puck enough to get a solid shot on goal.

Final - Penn State 2, American International 3
Despite holding a 63-29 advantage in shots, the Nittany Lions came out on the short end of the scoreboard in their first ever Division I tilt. American International got the game winner with just 21 seconds left in overtime on a Jon Puskar redirect. Penn State held a 53-45 advantage in face offs and Matthew Skoff made 26 saves in his first start in net. Casey Bailey tied for the match-high with seven shots to go along with his first career goal. Holstrom also added his first career tally and chipped in four shots on goal.
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Pregame Reading:
- Penn State men's hockey will begin its first NCAA Division I season, but the Nittany Lions have fielded a varsity team before. For five seasons in the 1940s (1940-44, 46-47), the Blue and White skated as a varsity program, but the 2012-13 edition will mark the first step onto the Division I stage. Tonight's game will be the first ever home game in the history of Penn State varsity hockey, as all games during the 1940s were played away from Happy Valley.

- With the addition of Penn State to the NCAA Division I ranks, there are now 59 schools that sponsor NCAA Division I men's hockey. The last school to establish NCAA Division I hockey was Robert Morris in 2004-05.

- Five players on Penn State's 27-man roster have previous NCAA Division I experience. Max Gardiner (Minnesota), Taylor Holstrom (Mercyhurst), Nate Jensen (Mercyhurst), Bryce Johnson (St. Cloud State) and Justin Kirchhevel (Alaska Anchorage) all played for their respective teams during the 2010-11 season. Holstrom was named Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year that season, collecting 37 points with 12 goals and 25 assists.

- The Nittany Lions will play games against teams from all five NCAA Division I conferences -- Atlantic Hockey, CCHA, ECAC Hockey, Hockey East, WCHA -- and fellow independent Alabama Huntsville. At least three teams that participated in the 2012 NCAA tournament appear on Penn State's schedule. The Nittany Lions will host Air Force (Nov. 9-10) and will visit Michigan State (Jan. 25-26) and Frozen Four participant Union (Nov. 24-25).

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