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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sophomore Denis Smirnov (Moscow, Russia) tied his career-high with four points on a pair of goals and assists to help lead No. 18 Penn State past Robert Morris, 7-4, in non-conference action this evening to close out the season series between the two Keystone State rivals.
With the weekend sweep the Nittany Lions improve to 11-7-2 heading into the holiday break while the Colonials fall to 5-11-1 on the year.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- RMU opened the scoring early as after what looked to be a harmless dump into the Penn State zone the puck took a hard bounce off the end boards and Spencer Dorowicz flicked a backhanded shot from the left circle high over the blocker of sophomore goaltender Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) and into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead just 27 seconds in to the opening period.
- Penn State tied the game on the power-play as sophomore Denis Smirnov (Moscow, Russia) fired a laser from the left circle beating RMU net-minder Andrew Pikul high-glove for the 1-1 score at 7:01 of the first period. Freshman Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis.) and sophomore Nikita Pavlychev (Yaroslavl, Russia) picked up the assists on the play.
- Penn State then scored consecutive goals just 1:39 apart as Smirnov batted the puck out of mid-air after senior Trevor Hamilton's (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.) shot was initially saved at 13:13 and then sophomore Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.) kept the puck in the offensive zone and found Hults who returned the puck right back to Sucese and he fired off the far post and in from the left circle for the 3-1 advantage at 14:52.
- The Colonials then took advantage of a late turnover during a Penn State power-play as Timmy Moore and Brady Ferguson played tic-tac-toe entering the PSU zone and Ferguson finished with his second shorthanded goal of the year for the 3-2 score at 19:52.
- Trevor Hamilton extended the lead back to a two-goal advantage as he banged home a rebound to the left of the cage during a power-play after junior Derian Hamilton's (Port McNeill, B.C.) initial shot was saved for the 4-1 edge at 4:28 of the second period.
- Michael Louria cut the deficit in half again in the final minute of a period as he found the puck in the slot after a weird bounce and he spun and fired beating Jones five-hole for the 4-3 score at 19:19 of the second period.
- Penn State extended the lead back to a pair of goals as Pavlychev came racing off the bench and into the slot firing a one-timer that hit off RMU net-minder Andrew Pikul's blocker and bounced over his shoulder and into the net for the 5-3 lead at 11:48 of the third period.
- Just 1:55 later Spencer Dorowicz found himself behind the defense on a failed clear attempt and he lit the lamp for the second time in the game for the 5-4 score at 13:43 of the final frame.
- Penn State then sealed the game with a pair of goals in the final minute as Sucese hit the empty net at 19:06 and then just 47 ticks later junior Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) redirected a pass from freshman Evan Barratt (Bristol, Pa.) into the back of the net on the power-play for the 7-4 final at 19:53.
- Jones secured his 33rd career victory, which is now the all-time record at Penn State for goaltender wins, as he improves to 10-5-1 on the year after making 33 saves.
- Pikul falls to 0-4-0 on the year after stopping 37 shots.
- With a weekend sweep, Penn State evens the all-time series at 4-4-0 and runs its unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-2).
- The Nittany Lions registered seven goals in a single game for the fifth time this season in 20 games after achieving that feat four times all of last season.
- Penn State held the 44-37 edge in shots on goal and went 3-for-7 with the man-advantage and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
- PSU improves to 10-0-1 when leading after two periods of play this season and they are now 7-0-1 when scoring five or more goals. They have also no evened their record to 5-5-0 when an opponent scores the first goal of the game.
- Seven Nittany Lions turned in multi-point efforts led by the four points (two goals and two assists) from Smirnov who now has a three-game goal streak, which is one shy of his career-high, after registering his fifth multi-point game this season and the 18th of his career.
- Hults registers his fourth multi-point game this season with a pair of assists while Sucese secures his second this season and the 12th of his career after a one goal and two assist night.
- Trevor Hamilton registered his sixth multi-point game this season and the ninth of his career while Pavlychev secured his first multi-point game this season and the third of his career after a goal and an assist each.
- Biro notched a pair of assists for his fifth multi-point game this season and the eight of his career as he runs his point-streak to four games and now has a team-best 12 points (three goals and nine assists) during the eight-game unbeaten streak.
- Junior Andrew Sturtz (Buffalo, N.Y.) picked up a pair of helpers on the night to register his team-leading ninth multi-point game this season and the 27th of his career. His 26 points jump him into second in the nation behind the 28 of Jake Evans from Notre Dame.
- Penn State takes nearly a month off for final exams and the holidays before returning to Pegula Ice Arena to continue its five-game homestand as they host the 12th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers in a Big Ten Conference series on January 5-6, 2018.
- Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. each night with Saturday's tilt being broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.