In Game Blog: Men's Hockey hosts Neumann

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome back to in-game coverage of 2012-13 Nittany Lions men's hockey season.  Insight and reaction will be provided by GoPSUsports.com throughout the game, so check back often as the action unfolds.

Check out the running tally from Penn State's 3-2 overtime loss to Neumann College on Tuesday inside Greenberg Ice Pavilion. The Nittany Lions rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie the game and out-shot the Knights 21-1 in the third period, but a late overtime goal sent the Blue and White to their third straight loss.

Today's Game in 140 Characters: Carry intensity over from exhib series w/ Team USA...establish pace & tone early...apply pressure in front & continue streak against DIII teams

Leading Lines (Starting lineups)
Nittany Lions -
LW- Longo, C- McDonagh, RW- Olczyk, D- Yanis, D- Sweetland, GK- Musico
Knights - LW- Cowie, C- Zalba, RW- Bournazos, D- Farrell, D- McDougall, GK- Curley

1st Period: 19:40 - Penn State 0, Neumann 1
That didn't take long. The Knights won the opening faceoff and took it right down the ice and scored. Chris Bournazos collected his own rebound in front of the net and slid it past PSU goalie PJ Musico for the early lead. The initial shot was set up by a combo pass from Craig Cowie to Jordan Zalba, who found Nuhim in front. Each player was credited with assists. Penn State will have to fight out of a hole again if they are going to get this win. PSU is 3-10-0 when not scoring first.

1st Period: 12:37 - Penn State 0, Neumann 1
There have been flashes of solid hockey and times it looked like Penn State's first time on skates tonight, but since the opening marker the Nittany Lions have applied the pressure. David Glenn missed evening the game when his shot from the shortside glanced off the post and caromed across the crease harmlessly. Connor Varley then ripped a shot from the point that sailed just high and Michael McDonagh created a turnover and saw his backhand sail just wide of the net.

1st Period: 8:51 - Penn State 0, Neumann 1
Penn State continues to create turnovers in the neutral zone and work the glove side of Neumann goaltender Ben Curley. Over the past few game minutes, PSU has forced six turnovers in neutral ice or in the Neumann zone and three of them let to multiple shots. Casey Bailey had the best scoring opportunity when his snap shot from the left slot was gloved by Curley and Olczyk sent a wrist shot towards goal a minute later that Curley also corralled. Penn State will now enjoy the first man advantage of the game, a spot where they had success last weekend.

1st Period: 4:00 - Penn State 0, Neumann 1
Gadowsky wasn't happy when a breakout on the power play turned into a botched line change and a penalty for too many men on the ice. The Lions recorded three shots during their three minutes of power play time and no real scoring chances came from a slashing and boarding  penalty on NU. The last five minutes have been chock full of penalties and poor execution from both teams and PSU will need to capitalize on poor passing from Neumann at some point if they want to even this game up.

End of 1st Period - Penn State 0, Neumann 1
Penn State put a flurry of shots on goal over the final four minutes, including another post-job from Glen on the power play with just over three minutes left in the period. The early misstep by the PSU defense gave Neumann the early lead, but the Knights have given Penn State some nice opportunities to notch the equalizer. The Lions have created at least 15 turnovers on neutral or plus ice, but some poor puck handling, a few nice saves and the post - that darn post - have kept them off the board. On the judge's scorecards, Penn State took the first round by a slim margin, but the Knights lead on the scoreboard.

2nd Period: 16:05 - Penn State 0, Neumann 1
I say Gadowsky was displeased with the opening period would be an understatement, but Kenny Brooks almost Neumann'd Neumann when he raced down the ice after PSU won the opening faceoff of the period and nearly evened the game. After holding the puck in the Neumann zone for nearly 90 seconds to start the period, but a Mark Yanis turnover in the PSU zone nearly cost the blue and white the second goal of the game. Michael Longo had his shot redirected in front of the net, but Curley got his pad on the puck and directed it wide of the net.

2nd Period: 15:15 - Penn State 0, Neumann 2
The intensity hasn't been there tonight like it was on Friday night vs. Team USA and another letup defensively led to the second Neumann goal. A PSU misplay in their own zone put Musico in a tough spot and the Knights capitalized. The Lions are going to need to tighten up the passing the keep their focus against a determined opponent.

2nd Period: 10:14 - Penn State 1, Neumann 2
Cue the ZOMBIE NATION! Bailey lights the lamp for Penn State with a laser beam past Curley on a sweet cross-ice pass from Peter Sweetland. A nice pass from Justin Kirchhevel from his own blue line connected with a streaking Brooks that nearly led to the first PSU score just prior to the Bailey goal. There is something about a team going up 2-0 on the Nittany Lions that hit a cord when I am in the arena, because since the ten minute mark in this period the hitting has really picked up on the PSU side.

2nd Period: 5:06 - Penn State 2, Neumann 2
Just as I typed nothing much to report since the last post you can Cue the ZOMBIE NATION! The Nittany Lions pulled this contest back to even on a nice rebound goal by Glen. Brooks got the puck towards the net wrapping around behind Curley and Glen finished things by getting it to the back of the net. Brooks  and Glen have both had great scoring chances go for not in this contest, so it is nice to see them rewarded.

End of 2nd Period - Penn State 2, Neumann 2
Neumann spent about four minutes attacking the Nittany Lions and eventually took a 2-0 lead, but if the Blue and White ever showed the temperament of their coach it was tonight. There was no panic shown after the Knight second goal and an adjustment was finally made on the offensive side of things to get them some flow. A couple of nice passes on an early power play seemed to get the unit in order and the team's top two goal scores came through when the team needed it most. I knew it was time for a comeback when my hands went numb. But it's hockey, a sport for tough guys and I am going to have to tough it out in the third period. Something I will gladly do for my readers with thoughtful - and hopefully PSU goal-filled - news over the final 20 minutes.

3rd Period: 17:34 - Penn State 2, Neumann 2
After crashing the net to open the second period, Brooks nearly gave the Nittany Lions the lead to start the third period, but Curley just got a stick on the attempt to guide it away from net. Jacob Friedman, who is playing with Bailey and Max Gardiner tonight, had a crack in front of the net, as well, but couldn't get a solid piece of his blade on the puck to direct  it on net. There have been four deflections in front of the net so far in the early going for Penn State, but none have been able to light the lamp.

3rd Period: 13:00 - Penn State 2, Neumann 2
The home team is very lucky to still be tied in this contest after a turnover in their own zone led to an open look for Bournazos - who scored the first goal of the game - but the puck bounced just over his tape and innocently into the corner. Brian Dolan had a breakaway chance padded away by Curley just moments later and Connor Varley was in on the glove side with a chance, but was disrupted by the defender before he could get a good shot off. Also, the same post the got in the way in the first half turned away a Kirchhevel attempt just moments ago. Darn post!

3rd Period: 8:29 - Penn State 2, Neumann 2
A fairly soft tripping call went against Bailey to put the Knights on the power play, but a shorthanded rush by Brooks and Glen, followed by a faceoff win in the Neumann zone by Olczyk negated the first minute and some nice board work by the rest of the squad practically killed the rest. The Lions offense continues to get chances, but the puck just seems to zig when it should zag. Dominic Morrone had two chances to get the get the go ahead goal, but saw the attempt go wide once and bounce over his blade the second time.

3rd Period: 4:10 - Penn State 2, Neumann 2
Gardiner fed Bailey with a sweet, twisting between the legs pass in front of the net, but the two couldn't connect and that was followed by a Neumann penalty that gave PSU the man advantage for the fifth time in the game. The tripping call meant two minutes with the man advantage late. A pair of clears by the NU penalty kill line limited the chances for PSU, but the pressure was felt by Curley on a few occasions. After the expiration of the first penalty another infraction was called on Neumann and we will have two more minutes for PSU to have the man advantage.

End of Regulation - Penn State 2, Neumann 2
Give credit to Neumann goalie Ben Curley, who has turned away 21 shots in the third period and has seen two hit the post and one skirt the goal line before being cleared by a defender. Penn State put the pressure on the Knights, outshooting them 21-1 in the third stanza, but the inability to finish on the doorstep or capitalize on a pair of late power play opportunities have sent us into BONUS HOCKEY. Bailey, Friedman, Glen, Kirchhevel and Varley all had chances to net the go ahead goal, but couldn't find the crease to do so. Musico wasn't tested in the third period and will have to remain locked in during the overtime period.

Note to my readers: Hockey plays one sudden death overtime period of five minutes.

Overtime: 2:00 - Penn State 2, Neumann 2
Kenny Brooks wants to score a goal tonight and Ben Curley doesn't want Kenny Brooks to score a goal. Brooks ripped a one timer from the blue line that Curley smothered just a minute into bonus hockey. Another puck was put on net by Brooks later in the frame, but was blocked and never got a chance to get to Curley. Penn State really outplayed the Knights the last 34 minutes of this game, but just can't find that elusive third goal.

FINAL - Penn State 2, Neumann 3
Penn State gave up only three shots over the final 24 minutes, but the final one crawled its way through the five-hole of goalie PJ Musico to give the Knights the one-goal victory. It wasn't a rocket, but with the traffic in front of the net after the faceoff, there was just enough steam to get it across the goal line.

If I am going to be honest, Penn State outplayed Neumann for 90 percent of the game, but the 10 percent  that the Blue and White lost focus was enough for the Knight to snatch victory. However, head coach Guy Gadowsky was 100 percent upset, but was able to crack a smile after talking passionately about his teams need to come out ready to play from the initial puck drop each night.

The Nittany Lions out-shot the Knights by 19, 46-17, and had an eight minute advantage in penalty time in the contest.

Bailey and Glen each grabbed their tenth goals of the year in the loss, but each have to feel that they should have netted at least three goals. Neumann scored all three of their goals at the open end of the arena, while Penn State netted both of theirs on the closed end.

The second goal was scored when Glen crashed the net and was able to put away a rebound opportunity and both he and Baily made it known that it was something that they need to continue to work on as a team.

The next test will be a tough one on Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia against a Vermont team that will be coming off of a seven-day break. The Catamounts, like the Nittany Lions, are also riding a three-game losing streak into the contest.

Quick Change Press Conference Quotes
"The goaltending has been the backbone of our team all year...it was phenomenal tonight. Our defense blocked a lot of shots tonight, too, and they limited the second chances."
-Neumann head coach Dominick Dawes

"It's a mental toughness issue. I know we are a young team, but that doesn't give us a pass to skirt the issue. There is snow coming, but we had a heck of a crowd out there tonight and we came out flat. This has happened a number of times...and we are going to get back at it and work on it. I am not going to tell you what we are going to do, but we are going to work on it."
- Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky

"The hockey gods will never let you get away from (not being prepared). They will not let you come out unprepared and think you are just going to come back and win late. I was very disappointed in the way we played."
- Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky

"Our focus going into the (third) period was to get more shots, but we really didn't crash the net very well. We need to be a little more mentally tough and that is what did us in tonight."
- Freshman Casey Bailey

"I thought we lost a lot of battles on the boards tonight and that is something that we pride ourselves on. We started off a little lackadaisical and were able to pick it up a little later, but we are disappointed in that effort."
- Freshman David Glen

"We need to get back to our game. We need to start (games) better. We have to keep crashing the net, getting pucks on the net and really working hard down low. It has to be an all the time process."
- Freshman Casey Bailey

                     


What To Look For:

- Penn State is 2-1-0 against Division III opponents this season. The Nittany Lions fell, 3-0, at Buffalo State in their third game of the season, but have defeated the Bengals, 4-2, in November and followed that with a 4-0 blanking of Fredonia State on Dec. 11. The victory over Fredonia State was also the only Tuesday contest for PSU this season.

- The Nittany Lions flipped the switch against Team USA on Friday night, falling behind 2-0 before scoring five unanswered goals to claim the victory, 5-2. For this blogger, it was the most complete game that I have seen PSU play so far this season. The Lions did a solid job on the backcheck, physically controlled the contest over the final 40 minutes and were much crisper through the neutral zone and more aggressive the offensive zone.

- Casey Bailey, Max Gardiner and Taylor Holstrom joined together as linemates at Fredonia State on Dec. 11 and since then have been one of the most productive lines for head coach Guy Gadowsky. Each players is riding a three-game point-scoring streak, with Bailey posting six points (3 G, 3 A), Gardiner accounting for five points (0 G, 5 A) and Holstrom adding four points (3 G, 1 A).

- The Nittany Lions have produced 134 points so far in 2012-13 and 83 of those have been delivered by the freshman class. The rookies have 35 of the team's 51 goals and 48 of their 83 assists. The top two scorers on the PSU squad, Casey Bailey and David Glen, are both rookies. Bailey and Glen are each tied atop the team goal and point charts with nine and 17, respectively, and each have produced eight assists, ranking in a tie for second on the squad.

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