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Jan. 11, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's hockey team found itself down 2-0 in the second period, but the Nittany Lions fought back to score a 5-2 comeback win against the U.S. National Under-18 Team in an exhibition matchup at Greenberg Ice Pavilion Friday night.
The Nittany Lions faced a two-goal deficit 37 seconds into the second stanza, but senior forward George Saad (Wexford, Pa.) began the Penn State surge with 17:32 left in the frame.
Freshmen Kenny Brooks (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Joseph Lordo (St. Louis, Mo.) added power-play markers in the second and third frames, respectively, before sophomore Tommy Olczyk (Long Grove, Ill.) gave the Nittany Lions a 4-2 lead at 13:12 of the third. With seven seconds remaining, Brooks added an empty-netter to account for the 5-2 final.
Freshman netminder Matthew Skoff (McKees Rocks, Pa.) stymied Team USA all night as he made 47 saves, including several highlight-reel stops. The Nittany Lions finished 2-for-8 on the power play, while the U.S. went 1-for-4 with the man advantage. Team USA goaltender Thatcher Demko turned aside 25 shots, while Connor Clifton and J.T. Compher netted the U.S. goals.
With 11:13 left in the opening period, Clifton gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead. Hudson Fasching's initial shot was stopped by Skoff, but the puck came out to Clifton, who scored on the rebound.
Team USA added to its advantage with a power-play marker early in the second period. Will Butcher passed to Keaton Thomspon, who quickly fed the puck to Compher for the marker.
Saad cut the lead to 2-1 at 2:28 of the frame. Senior defenseman Rich O'Brien (Furlong, Pa.) chipped the puck to Saad in the neutral zone. The Wexford, Pa., native drove to the net hard and sent a shot near Demko that popped above the goaltender and into the back of the net.
With 9:25 left in the second period, Brooks notched his first of the game with Penn State on a two-man advantage. From the left corner, freshman David Glen (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.) passed to classmate Curtis Loik (North Vancouver, B.C.) in the slot, where he wristed a shot on goal. Demko made the first save but Brooks buried the rebound.
Team USA nearly tied the game with less than 1:30 in the second, but Skoff turned aside two quick attempts. The McKees Rocks, Pa., native first denied Compher from the right circle before stretching post-to-post and robbing Tyler Motte on a point-blank shot.
The Nittany Lions skated to its first lead with 13:01 left in the game. Junior forward Taylor Holstrom's (Yorba Linda, Calif.) pass from the corner was tipped by Casey Bailey (Anchorage, Alaska) up to Lordo at the point, where he unleashed a slap shot that blew past the U.S. netminder.
Olczyk added a marker with 6:48 remaining after some hard forechecking from junior Michael McDonagh (Wilmington, Mass.). The forward chased the puck into the corner, beat the U.S. defenseman and fed Olczyk in the slot, where he sent the pack past Demko.
Penn State closed out the scoring with Brooks' second marker at 19:53 of the game. In his defensive zone, Loik pushed the puck to Brooks, who fired the puck down the length of the ice and into the unoccupied net.
The teams will face off again Saturday, Jan. 12 at 7:30 p.m.