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Jan. 19, 2013
PHILADELPHIA - Juniors Taylor Holstrom (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Justin Kirchhevel (Brookings, S.D.) notched two points each and freshman Matthew Skoff (McKees Rocks, Pa.) turned aside 34 shots as the Penn State men's hockey team topped Vermont, 4-2, in front of 19,529 fans at Wells Fargo Center Saturday night.
The Nittany Lions, who snapped their three-game losing streak, improved to 9-12-0 in their first meeting against a Hockey East team, while Vermont dropped to 6-12-4. Penn State flew out to a 3-0 lead before Vermont scored its first goal midway through the second stanza. The Nittany Lions added a tally with less than five minutes remaining in regulation before the Catamounts closed out the scoring with 11 seconds left in the game.
Both freshmen Casey Bailey (Anchorage, Alaska), who extended his team-best point-scoring streak to five games, and David Glen (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.) tallied their team-high 11th goals of the season. With a maker in tonight's game, Bailey has recorded five goals and three assists in the past five games.
Vermont outshot the Nittany Lions by a 36-32 margin and went 1-for-6 on the power play. Penn State finished 0-for-4 with the man advantage. Vermont netminder Brody Hoffman made 28 saves.
Tonight's win also set a new personal best for head coach Guy Gadowsky as a first-year bench boss. During his first seasons with Alaska and Princeton, he guided the squads to six and eight victories, respectively, before leading the teams to program highs. Gadowsky led Alaska to its only 20-win season as a CCHA member in 2001-02 and guided Princeton to a program-best 21 victories in 2007-08 before garnering 22 victories the following season.
With 16:49 left in the opening period, Holstrom gave the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead. Freshman defenseman Mark Yanis (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) made a corner-to-corner pass to classmate Connor Varley (Lansdale, Pa.), who hit Holstrom swinging through the slot. The Yorba Linda, Calif., native skated up the middle of the ice before moving through the Vermont defense and wristing a shot through the five-hole.
The Nittany Lions grabbed a 2-0 advantage with 1:21 left in the frame. Junior defenseman Nate Jensen (Shorewood, Minn.) moved the puck behind the net to Kirchhevel, who looked behind his shoulder before feeding Glen in the slot. Glen then rifled the puck past Hoffman.
Kirchhevel tallied his second goal of the year at 9:43 of the stanza. Sophomore Tommy Olczyk (Long Grove, Ill.) chipped the puck to Kirchhevel, who swung around the net on his forehand and stuffed the puck past the goal line.
Vermont's Polesello made it a 3-1 game with 8:52 left in the period. While on the power play, Nick Luukko quickly moved the puck to Polesello, who one-timed it into the net. Brett Bruneteau also collected an assist on the play.
The Nittany Lions regained their three-goal lead at 15:18 of the final frame. Senior defenseman Brian Dolan's (Havetown, Pa.) shot was stopped in front of the cage, but Holstrom and Bailey continued to knock at the loose puck before Bailey was able to corral the rebound and send the puck to the back of the net.
Kyle Mountain closed out the scoring with 11 seconds remaining in the game. HT Lenz passed to Mountain, who tallied to make it a 4-2 contest. Pete Massar also collected an assist on the play.
The Nittany Lions will return to action next weekend when they travel to Michigan State for a two-game series Jan. 25-26.