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Nov. 10, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Five different Nittany Lions reached the back of the net as the Penn State men's hockey team downed Air Force, 5-1, to split its weekend series at Greenberg Ice Pavilion Saturday evening. The Nittany Lions, who had at least five different players score for the third time this season, improved to 6-3-0, while the Falcons fell to 3-4-3.
Sophomore forward Max Gardiner (Deephaven, Minn.) registered a career-high three points, while freshman forward Casey Bailey (Anchorage, Alaska) and freshman defenseman Connor Varley (Lansdale, Pa.) notched a goal and an assist each.
Bailey opened the scoring at 15:29 of the first period before freshman defenseman Luke Juha (Mississauga, Ont.) tallied his first career marker in the second period to double the Penn State lead. After Air Force's Casey Kleisinger made it a 2-1 game early in the third frame, the Nittany Lions responded with three unanswered tallies.
Freshman forward David Glen (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.) scored his team-leading sixth goal at 10:38 before both junior Michael McDonagh (Wilmington, Mass.) and Varley added empty-net markers to account for the 5-1 final.
Penn State was 0-for-2 on the power play, while Air Force finished 0-for-5 with the man advantage. The Falcons outshot the Nittany Lions by a 32-25 margin. Freshman goaltender Matthew Skoff (McKees Rocks, Pa.) corralled a career-high 31 shots for his second win of the season, while Air Force netminder Jason Torf made 20 saves.
With 4:31 left in the first period, Bailey gave the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead. Sophomore defenseman Peter Sweetland (Newtown, Pa.) dumped the puck into the offensive zone before Bailey jarred it to Gardiner near the half-wall. The Deephaven, Minn., native moved toward the slot before passing to Bailey at the bottom of the left circle, where he fired the puck high to the stick side.
Juha doubled the Nittany Lion advantage at 6:39 of the second period. Gardiner sent a pass to Bailey, whose blocked shot reached Juha at the point. The defenseman then directed the puck through traffic and into the back of the net.
Air Force closed the gap to 2-1 after Casey Kleisinger scored at 2:41 of the final stanza. Cole Gunner and Eric Artman gathered assists on the play.
Following the Falcons' goal, Penn State ended the contest on a 3-0 run. Glen skated the Nittany Lions to a 3-1 lead with 9:22 left in the game. Freshman forward Kenny Brooks (Las Vegas, Nev.) passed to Varley at the blue line, where he fired a shot that Glen redirected in the slot past Torf.
With 2:40 left in regulation, McDonagh tallied his first career goal to make it 4-1. Gardiner sent the puck to McDonagh along the right-wing boards, where he took a shot from the neutral zone into the empty cage.
Varley iced the game with a shorthanded, empty-net marker with seven seconds left. While killing off a 6-on-4 advantage, the Lansdale, Pa., native picked up the loose puck in his defensive zone before sending it the length of the ice for his first career goal.
Penn State, which improved to 5-2-0 against Atlantic Hockey opponents in 2012-13, will have next week off before returning to action against Union Nov. 24-25. The Dutchmen, who appeared in last season's NCAA Frozen Four, are 6-2-1 on the season.
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