By Erin Neri, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After losing the first game of the weekend series to Mercyhurst, Penn State men's hockey bounced back on Saturday night in record-setting fashion.
Saturday night, the Blue and White came out fast and aggressive, with senior forward captain James Robinson scoring his first of three consecutive goals on the night at 2:33 in the first period.
"Having a hot start tonight was something that we stressed right from the end of the game last night," Robinson said. "Getting that momentum rolling for the whole game was big for our team."
Center Chase Berger, Liam Folkes, Nikita Pavlychev and Andrew Sturtz also added goals in the 7-5 victory.
While head coach Guy Gadowsky noted after game one he was disappointed in his defensive unit, following game two, he was quick to give the Lakers their due credit on offense, despite a better performance.
"I really like the way Mercyhurst plays, we have to give them some credit here," Gadowsky said. "They have so much speed through the middle, it really caused us problems, I have to give them props."
Sturtz stole the show with his record-setting performance in game two of the series. The junior forward rose to No. 1 on the Penn State all-time goals list, passing Casey Bailey with his 46th career goal.
Sturtz scored on an empty net to help solidify a Nittany Lion win in the final minute of play in the third period. The goal was also Sturtz's eighth short-handed goal of his career, only furthering his own program record.
"He [Sturtz] obviously did some great things and that accolade of breaking Casey Bailey's record, that's extremely impressive and extremely well deserved," Gadowsky said. "It's great that it comes on such a great game for him."
In addition, the righty shooter also set a pair of Penn State single-game records, with four assists and five points. However, amidst all the record-book climbing, Sturtz didn't take the sole credit for his success, instead giving thanks to all his past and present teammates.
"Obviously it was something special to get it," Sturtz said. "I think a big credit to all those goals goes to every player I've played with over my two and a half years here."
Robinson also shared some of the spotlight, scoring the fifth hat trick in program history in the first two periods. Like Sturtz though, Robinson also shared the credit with the rest of the team.
"It was obviously super cool to put three in the back of the net," Robinson said. "However, stuff like that doesn't happen without your line mates and your teammates."
The trio of Robinson, Sturtz and Berger formed the first line of Saturday night's a game, a line that was non-existent Friday. While Berger and Sturtz did play together on the second line of game one, Robinson played on line four.
The line put up monster numbers, combining for five goals and five assists, but the idea to string together just the right combination of Nittany Lions didn't come from the coaching staff.
"I'd love to tell you it came from great minds of the coaching staff but it didn't, it came from a player," Gadowsky said.
Although he was reluctant to say who exactly came up with the idea, Gadowsky did note he was absolutely right in his thinking piece the trio together.