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In Game Blog: Men's Hockey hosts Alabama Huntsville

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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 throughout the game, so check back often as the action unfolds.

It will be a meeting between a pair of first year Division I, independent programs when the Nittany Lions (10-13-0) host Alabama-Huntsville (3-17-1) on Friday evening inside the Greenberg Ice Pavilion. The two teams will each move into conference next season; with Penn State joining the Big Ten and the UAH Chargers moving into the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Today's Game in 140 Characters: Only 2 NCAA DI independent  schools meet...Lions look to extend three-game winning streak...can't have letdown v UAH #IndependentLeagueMegaBowl

Leading Lines (Starting lineups)
Nittany Lions -
LW- Bailey, C- Holstrom, RW- Gardiner, D- Yanis, D- Sweetland, GK- Skoff
Knights - LW- Uusivirta, C- Cseter, RW- Vanderlugt, D- deBruyn, D- Reinhardt, GK- Griggs

1st Period: 14:46 - Penn State 0, Alabama-Huntsville 0
It's been up and down the ice for the first five minutes and the Nittany Lions have had two soild scoring opportunities thanks to some nice board work by Casey Bailey and David Glenn. Glenn had the first chance when he dug a puck out at the board and fired a shot from the right circle that sailed just wide. A minute later, Bailey led the breakout through the neutral zone, stopped on a dime at the boards and just missed connecting with a wide open Max Gardiner in front of the net. First power play goes to Alabama-Huntsville, Yanis called for high sticking.

1st Period: 8:03 - Penn State 0, Alabama-Huntsville 0
Penn State handled their first power play well on the defensive end and followed their penalty kill with a couple of incredible chances. The Nittany Lions have really taken it to the Chargers and Gardiner nearly gave the Blue and White the lead after Peter Sweetland ripped a shot from the point, John Griggs made the initial save but the puck bounced right to Gardiner who had an open net in front of him, but the traffic in front made him hurry the shot and it sailed wide. Alabama-Huntsville hasn't had many sustained possessions in Penn State's end, but when they have gotten a shot on net, Skoff has been there.

End of 1st Period - Penn State 0, Alabama-Huntsville 0
Well, that was fast. In what seemed to be a blink of an eye the first period is over. Penn State had four or five nice scoring chances, but was stonewalled twice, watched two attempts sail wide of the net and narrowly missed on two connections from the wing into the crease. Give UAH credit, thought, they fought off a couple of massive attacks by the Nittany Lions.

One thing is for sure; the Nittany Lions brought their lunch pails to the game tonight and have been doing some nice work along the boards.

2nd Period: 18:15 - Penn State 1, Alabama-Huntsville 0
Cue the ZOMBIE NATION, we have a Penn State goal. David Glen was the beneficiary of an absolutely beautiful pass from Kenny Brooks. The UAH defense could recover quick enough after the Nittany Lions raced through the neutral zone and Brooks wrapped around behind the net and sent a nice backhand pass across the crease to Glen, who sent a shot to the far post and high. Griggs couldn't get into position and Glen tallied his 13th goal of the year.

2nd Period: 12:11 - Penn State 1, Alabama-Huntsville 0
The Nittany Lions killed off their second penalty of the game and were unsuccessful on their first opportunity with the man advantage. Alabama-Huntsville put some pressure on Skoff, but the Blue and White returned the favor with a bevy of shots on their chance with the 5v4. The shot count in the second period is 6-1 in favor of Penn State and 16-9 overall, but PSU has only one goal to show for it.

2nd Period: 7:17 - Penn State 1, Alabama-Huntsville 0
The last five minutes have been really nicely played by Penn State with three good chances to the net and now head to a 4v3 power play for 80 seconds. The scoring chances came in a variety of ways, with a breakout chance for Michael Longo when Dominic Morone found him on the wing, but the shot was saved. A minute later Longo redirected a shot from the point by Connor Varley that sailed just wide. The final chance prior to the power play came when Gardiner forced a turnover in the UAH zone and found Bailey cutting to the net, but the shot was just wide of the net. Skoff has made two remarkable saves since we last chatted, snagging a deflected shot out of the air like an eagle grabbing his prey and them stonewalled a one-on-one chance.

2nd Period: 4:29 - Penn State 2, Alabama-Huntsville 0
Cue the ZOMBIE NATION; Part 2. Mark Yanis took a shot from the point on the power play and Gardiner was in front to redirect the shot past Griggs. You could see the sea part from our seats in the opposite endzone and Yanis took the pass from Bailey and sent the one-timer right down Curtin Street towards Gardiner's imposing frame in front of the net. The sophomore just got his stick on the puck and into the back of the net it went. As it has been all season, Penn State scores when they are on the opposite end of press row, but it gives us a nice view of how it unfolds.

End of 2nd Period - Penn State 2, Alabama-Huntsville 0
It started off well for the Nittany Lions with a goal, then came a sloppy six to eight minute stretch that was riddled with penalties and poor puck handling on both sides. But the action picked up over the final five minutes and there were all kinds of ooh's and aah's coming from the stands as Penn State sent shot after shot at UAH goalie John Griggs. For the period, Penn State took 17 shots to just seven for Alabama-Huntsville and Skoff was solid in net again for the Nittany Lions.


The intensity has been on tilt all night for Penn State. They have been finishing checks, working on the boards and getting quality opportunities on the offensive end. The Zamboni driver is going to have to work some magic on this ice after a very nice up and down period of hockey.

3rd Period: 14:09 - Penn State 2, Alabama-Huntsville 0
Penn State will have to kill off their fourth penalty of the night after Glen was whistled for cross checking. The first six minutes have been played pretty cleanly, however, with neither team really having any quality chances to score. I am still wondering if I am going to get to see a Penn State goal at the open end of the stadium this season. I can't remember the last time the Nittany Lions scored at the media end.

3rd Period: 8:40 - Penn State 3, Alabama-Huntsville 0
Cue the ZOMBIE NATION; Part 3, and the crowd is right back into this one. After the first 11-plus minutes of the third period consisted of a choppy, no flow hockey Glen found his flow for the second time tonight. The freshman connected on the backhand after giving the defender the ole spin-o-rama in the right faceoff circle. The shot went over the right shoulder of Griggs and lit the lamp for his 14th score of the season.

3rd Period: 5:10 - Penn State 4, Alabama-Huntsville 0
Cue the ZOMBIE NATION; Part 4. Glen finishes off the hat trick with a goal off the the faceoff and the student section is all kinds of amped. Glen won the faceoff and crashed the net as Michael McDonagh's shot was saved by Griggs. The freshman gobbled up the rebound and put it home for the first hat trick in Penn State history.

FINAL - Penn State 4, Alabama-Huntsville 0
It was David Glen's night on Friday vs. the Chargers, as the rookie became the first Penn State player to record a hat trick in school history. The rookie did it in a variety of ways, scoring one on his own, collecting a rebound and putting it back in and taking a nice pass and finishing cleanly.

It wasn't just Glen that was a star for the Blue and White, as Matt Skoff made 23 saves and Kenny Brooks added a pair of nice assists. Skoff made the saves at the right time, not allowing Alabama-Huntsville to draw closer after the Nittany Lions took the two goal lead. Brooks assists on the first and third goals of the game, connecting with Brooks both times, and now has 10 assists on the season.

Max Gardiner played tough in both creases tonight and was a force for the Nittany Lions. The sophomore notched his third goal of the season and now has 19 points, but his presence on the defensive end was big for Penn State against a very physical and hard-nosed UAH squad.

Overall it was the way you want to see a team play. They competed in all three zones, made the most of their scoring chances and stuck up for their teammates. They competed for a full 60 minutes, even after a choppy start to the game, and stayed after to sign autographs for the fans.

A great group of guys continue to write their own story during the inaugural season of Penn State men's hockey.

What To Look For:

- Penn State and Alabama-Huntsville are the only two independent hockey schools in NCAA Division I this season, with the Nittany Lions moving to the newly-formed Big Ten Conference next season, while
the Chargers will be moving into the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

- The two teams have three common opponents this season; American International, Air Force and the U.S. National U18 Team. Penn State was 1-1-0 against all three opponents, while UAH was 0-1 vs. AIC and Air Force, while finishing 0-1-1 vs. Team USA.

- All three of Alabama Huntsville's victories have come against non-Division I opponents, with the Chargers defeating Lake Superior State and Finlandia (twice). Their tie came vs. Minnesota State at home in early October. UAH is coming off of a four-game homestand where they dropped single games to Adrian and Vanderbilt  before being swept by Oklahoma on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

- Penn State has been in nearly every game over the past month, losing only two of their ten games by three or more goals since the calendar turned to 2013. PSU dropped a 3-0 decision to the US National U18 Team and fell 4-1 at Connecticut. Since being swept by UConn to start 2013, the Nittany Lions are 4-2 against NCAA opponents.

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