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Nov. 24, 2012
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - Freshman goaltender Matthew Skoff (McKees Rocks, Pa.) made a career-high 40 saves, but the Penn State men's hockey team fell to No. 8 Union, 2-0, at Messa Rink Saturday evening. The Nittany Lions fell to 6-4-0, while the Dutchmen improved to 7-2-1.
Following a scoreless first period, Union forward Wayne Simpson opened the scoring with 10:25 left in the second period before Cole Ikkala added an empty-net goal with 14 seconds left in regulation.
Union outshot Penn State by a 42-22 margin and finished 0-for-4 on the power play. The Nittany Lions were 0-for-2 with the man advantage. Union netminder Colin Stevens made 22 stops.
Union, which entered the game second in the nation with 4.33 goals per game, outshot the Nittany Lions, 14-5, in a fast-paced first period that garnered quality scoring chances for both teams. Penn State's best opportunity came with just over 16 minutes to play when junior forward Justin Kirchhevel (Brookings, S.D.) unleashed a shot from the slot that was stopped by Stevens.
At the other end, Skoff excelled between the pipes as he thwarted each Dutchmen chance. The McKees Rocks, Pa., native especially shined while Penn State was on the penalty kill, stopping all seven attempts during Union's two power-play opportunities.
After Skoff opened the second period with seven saves, including several highlight-reel stops, Union took a 1-0 lead at 9:35 of the frame. Simpson received a pass from Kyle Bodie and took a shot from the right wing that beat the netminder on the stick side. Ryan Forgaard also collected an assist on the play.
Penn State nearly tied the game around the four-minute mark. Junior forward Michael McDonagh (Wilmington, Mass.) jammed the puck past Stevens to the goal line, where defenseman Nate Jensen (Shorewood, Minn.) looked to knock the rebound into the net. Stevens recovered in time to make a sweeping save to keep the Nittany Lions scoreless.
The Nittany Lions generated 10 shots in the third period and had a few opportunities to knot the game. With less than seven minutes remaining, Penn State may have had its best chance when Kenny Brooks (Las Vegas, Nev.) sent a shot from the slot that Stevens blockered away. Skoff made 12 saves in the final stanza for the Nittany Lions.
The teams will conclude their two-game series Sunday, Nov. 25 at 4 p.m.