In Game Blog: Men's Hockey hosts Robert Morris

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to in-game coverage for the 2012 Penn State Men's Hockey season.  GoPSUsports.com will provide insight from press row for selected games throughout the 2012-13 season.  Check back often for running updates as the action unfolds.

Tonight the Nittany Lions (7-7-0) host Robert Morris (6-4-2) and will look to close out the home portion of 2012 with a victory over the Colonials. Penn State defeated Fredonia State, 4-0, on Tuesday to even their record and tonight's contest will be their final home game of 2012.

1st Period: 12:43 - Penn State 0, Robert Morris 0
The Nittany Lions have come out hitting in the first seven minutes of this in-state battle with the Colonials and they have held a solid time of possession edge. Taylor Holstrom had the first good chance with a shot from the point, and Peter Sweetland's shot went into the pad of RMU goalkeeper Eric Levine. Connor Varley sent a shot into a crowd in front of the net that was blocked by a RMU defender. The Colonials best scoring chance came on a PSU turnover, but Greg Gibson's shot sailed wide of goalkeeper Matt Skoff's net.

1st Period: 8:32 - Penn State 0, Robert Morris 0
Penn State has not been shy about testing RMU's Levine in net, but the senior has been up to the task and saved all seven shots on net. A couple of neutral ice turnovers have given Penn State a pair of scoring opportunities. David Glen ripped a shot from the slot, but a RMU defender blocked the attempt. Tommy Olczyk had the best look at the net with 10:32 left in the opening frame, but Levine got his glove on the attempt to knock it wide.

1st Period: 7:53 - Penn State 0, Robert Morris 1
A rare turnover for the Lions led to the opening tally of the game for Robert Morris as Tyler Hinds grabbed a sloppy pass at the blue line and launched a shot that was wide to Skoff's stick side, Jeff Jones controlled for RMU and a touch pass from Zach Lynch found Chase Golightly who went high to Skoff's stick side for the opening marker.

1st Period: 0:32 - Penn State 0, Robert Morris 1
Baily had two shots from point blank range on the power play with four minutes to play in the half, but could get enough of his blade on the puck and Levine was able to turn away both shots. Penn State had the first two man advantages of the night, but has come away empty on both. After Baily narrowly missed evening the game on the power play, Robert Morris went on the man-advantage, but PSU's Olczyk had the best scoring chance shorthanded.

End of 1st Period - Penn State 0, Robert Morris 1
With only one game this weekend it seems like the Nittany Lions came out with a little more intensity in the opening period, but the Colonials were the ones that were able to capitalize on a PSU turnover in their own zone. Penn State ripped 12 shots, but Levine was up to the test in net and made saves on each of them. Skoff stopped six of the seven shots he faced in goal for Penn State. Time of possession is not a stat that is found on the box score but, even when playing shorthanded, the Lions seemed to control the puck for a good portion of the opening frame. 

2nd Period: 18:17 - Penn State 1, Robert Morris 1
Cue the Zombie Nation and get the student section jumping as Olczyk redirected a shot by Luke Juha past Levine. Juha took a wraparound pass off of the faceoff, controlled the puck near the blue line and let one fly. Olczyk got the redirect and snuck it into the near corner of the net to knot the game at one goal apiece.

2nd Period: 16:35 - Penn State 2, Robert Morris 1
Two goals in the first three-plus minutes of the second half have the student second thinking about something other than finals. Curtis Loik connected on his fourth goal of the season on an assist from Glen - his eighth of the year - and the Nittany Lions find themselves in front by a goal. There is still a lot of time let in the period and Robert Morris has been more physical at the point of attack this period. PSU still continues to control the puck, however.

2nd Period: 11:02 - Penn State 2, Robert Morris 1
Robert Morris spent a lot of time in the PSU zone over the last four minutes, but Skoff turned away a nice backhand attempts and the defense has turned away a pair of face offs in their own zone. Just after Loik gave PSU the lead, Hinds came in on Skoff's glove side and sent a backhand high, but the rookie net-minder was up to the test and snagged it. Glen nearly put the home team up by two goals as he emerged from a scrum behind the net and sent a wrist shot in that clanked off the post and bounced away. PSU has really done a nice job limiting the scoring chances for RMU, who is riding a four-game unbeaten streak.

2nd Period: 6:49 - Penn State 2, Robert Morris 2
The third power play of the night ended the same way the first two did for Penn State and Robert Morris evened the game shortly after returning to full strength. The Nittany Lions put a lot of pressure on the Colonials keeper with the man advantage, sending three shots towards goal and narrowly missing on an open ice connecting between Loik and Holstrom. Jones then took a pass from Brendan Jamison from behind the net and stuffed home his second goal of the season to knot the score.

2nd Period: 2:57 - Penn State 2, Robert Morris 2
Penn State got a little sloppy in their own zone late in the period, allowing the Jones goal to even the score and later turning the puck over twice near their own net and forcing Skoff to come up with two big saves. David Friedmann had the first look, which was turned away and Gibson ripped a shot from the slot that Skoff gloved.

End of 2nd Period - Penn State 2, Robert Morris 2
A pair of 4-on-4 skates produced a handful some fast paced, up-and-down action, but no scoring came about over the final three minutes of the second period. The Nittany Lions hold a 24-14 edge in shots, but Levine of RMU has been up to the task in net. With so much possession of the puck, Penn State has limited Robert Morris attack to near season-low totals. Oh and Santa Claus is on the Zamboni to make sure the ice is ready for the third period.

3rd Period: 14:28 - Penn State 2, Robert Morris 2
With five minutes gone in the third period, Penn State has had a flurry of scoring chances with nothing to show. Max Gardiner took a close range slap shot that was padded away by RMU's Levine and Loik knifed through the defense and forced Levine to turn away his shot under immense pressure. Shortly after Loik's chance, Bailey took a slap shot from the right faceoff circle that Levine was able to turn away with his stick, but the Nittany Lions have had their chances.

3rd Period: 11:17 - Penn State 2, Robert Morris 2
Penn State killed off their second power play of the night and, like their first one, had the best scoring chance of the two-minute penalty. Loik snagged a pass in the neutral ice and again closed in on Levine, but was turned away once again by the senior keeper. After killing off the penalty, Penn State's George Sadd had a chance in front, but missed wide to the glove side of Levine. A boarding penalty on Robert Morris has now put Penn State on the power play for the fourth time tonight.

3rd Period: 8:11 - Penn State 2, Robert Morris 3
Hinds took it coast-to-coast for the go ahead goal on a wrist shot from the left flank, beating Skoff to the upper-90 on the far post. It was his first goal of the season and gave the Colonials their first lead since early in the second period.

3rd Period: 4:15 - Penn State 2, Robert Morris 3
Penn State had a 4-on-3 advantage for 1:30 and they nearly knotted the score on three occasions, including a handful of swipes at a loose puck in front of the net with Levine sprawled out on his back. Juha took a hard wrist shot from the point that Levine saved, followed by an attempt from Bailey that was sailed just over the crossbar. Then a shot from the point by Bailey was saved by Levine and dropped in the crease. Glen had three swipes at the puck, but couldn't get enough of his blade to knock it into the open net.

FINAL - Penn State 2, Robert Morris 3
This loss is going to be a tough one for the Nittany Lions to swallow, but can send them into the holiday break knowing that when they take to the ice again, they will have another crack at Robert Morris. Penn State outshot the Colonials 40-29 and had countless more scoring opportunities, but RMU's Eric Levine made all the stops he had to make in the one-goal game. Give Robert Morris credit for making the plays when they needed to and PSU continues to show steady growth on the ice in their inaugural season. Skoff played another great game in net and should get another crack at getting a win vs. Robert Morris when the Blue and White open the Three Rivers Classic at the CONSOL Energy Season in Pittsburgh versus the Colonials.

Quick Change Press Conference Quotes

"I was happy with how we played, but not happy with the end result. We are learning how to put it all together. I think we've come a long way and Robert Morris is a good team. I think we played fairly well and we can take away some positives (from tonight). We are a young team and we are going to keep getting better."

- Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky

"You never want to get too high and you never want to get too low. We have had our ups and downs, but overall we are a confident hockey team. I think we have continued to get better throught (the season)."

- Sophomore Tommy Olczyk

 

"I think we should have come out with that (win). We are getting better every day, every practice and every game. We won't have a sour taste in our mouth (from the loss), but we will look forward to getting another chance to play Robert Morris after the break."

- Freshman Curtis Loik

"Our guys really showed some character tonight, but we didn't play our best and good hockey team's find a way to win without their best game. Penn State really punched us in the gut, but we were able to get a win on the road in a very tough environment. I don't know if we deserved to win, but we earned it."

- Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley

 


Pregame Reading:

- In its first season of Division I men's hockey, Penn State has put together an impressive resume and will look to continue to grow the program versus in-state foe Robert Morris, who has nine seasons of Division I hockey experience. The Nittany Lions and Colonials are two of just three Division I teams in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, joining Erie-based Mercyhurst at the highest collegiate level.

- The Blue and White own a 2-2 record inside Greenberg Ice Arena versus Division I opponents, splitting a series with Air Force at the beginning of Nov. after beating Buffalo State, 4-2, to start the month. The other Penn State home game was their season opening loss to in overtime to American International.

- Penn State posted their second shutout of the season on Tue., Dec. 11 at Fredonia State with a 4-0 decision behind the superb goalkeeping of freshman Matt Skoff. The rookie made 18 saves to help the Blue and White snaps their four-game losing streak.

- The freshman class has made major contributions to the team so far in the inaugural Division I campaign, with eight rookies netting goals and nine contributing at least two points on the season. Eight of the top 12 point scores on the team this season are in their first year of college hockey, including their top three goal scores and three of their top six point scores.

- Freshman David Glen and Casey Bailey are the top two scores on the team, with Glen leading the charge with eight goals, seven assists and 15 points - all team highs. Bailey has added found the back of the net six times and has five assists for a total of 11 points in 2012-13.

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