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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sophomore Andrew Sturtz (Buffalo, N.Y.) fired home a short-handed goal in the second period which proved to be the game-winner as Penn State defeated No. 16 St. Lawrence, 4-2, this evening in their season opener from Pegula Ice Arena.
St. Lawrence (0-1-0) opened the scoring at 7:51 of the first period as Jacob Pritchard collected the puck along the end boards and found Drew Smolcynski for the finish and 1-0 edge.
The Nittany Lions (1-0-0) responded as senior Dylan Richard (Sherwood, park, Alb.) ripped home a rebound off freshman Denis Smirnov's (Moscow, Russia) initial bid for the equalizer to tie things up at 1-0-1 at 10:01 of the frame.
It was then fellow senior David Thompson (Glen Mills, Pa.) who tilted the score in favor of the home team by burying the puck just two seconds after the end of a power-play at 13:21 of the opening stanza. Freshman Liam Folkes (Scarborough, Ont.) used incredible vision from the left-side half wall to dish a perfect tape-to-tape pass across ice connecting with Thompson at the right dot and the senior didn't miss for the 2-1 score.
The second period was more of an even affair as both teams pressured, but couldn't capitalize until sophomore Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) showed tremendous speed racing through the neutral zone after a free puck during a penalty kill situation.
Sturtz followed and after Berger's initial shot from the left side of the crease was denied by the pad of Saint junior net-minder Kyle Hayton, Berger collected his own rebound and fed it back to Sturtz as he crossed behind him to the left and easily hit the top left corner of the net for the 3-1 lead at 16:07 of the period.
Saint Lawrence cut the deficit to a single goal early in the third period as Michael Laidley beat freshman Peyton Jones at 2:50 of the frame for the 3-2 score.
The Saints continued to pressure, however, the Nittany Lion defense stood strong and freshman Blake Gober (Colleyville, Tx.) was the beneficiary of an empty net at 19:47 for the 4-2 final.
Jones collected 28 stops in his debut to move to 1-0-0 while Hayton made 35 saves and falls to 0-1-0. Penn State outshot the visitors, 39-30, while the teams combined to go 0-for-8 with the man-advantage.
The finale of the season series takes place tomorrow evening as both teams return for a 7 p.m. affair.
- This marks the first win in the short history of the program over St. Lawrence as Penn State improves to 1-1-1 against the Saints.
- This marks the first win for Penn State against a ranked opponent since February 21, 2015 when they defeated then #15 Minnesota, 4-3 in overtime.
- Peyton Jones becomes the first Nittany Lion freshman goaltender to secure a win in his first career start.