Penn State earned its first win of the year on Saturday, downing St. Lawrence in a 4-1 decision. After looking good-but-not-great to start the year, Peyton Jones stood out in this contest, allowing one goal on St. Lawrence’s 31 shots while his team scored four of its own.
— Penn State Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) October 8, 2017
Clarkson scored 14 seconds into Friday’s game, which surely was on the Nittany Lions’ mind as this game got underway. They held the Saints off, then took the lead on a Kris Myllari shot halfway through the period. Freshman Alex Limoges picked up the primary assist, which was the first point of his career. After the first period, Penn State was actually outshot -- a very rare occurrence for what is always, by far, the offense that leads the nation in shots. Despite that, Jones kept his net clear and Penn State added two goals in the second period. Hobey Baker hopeful Denis Smirnov potted his first of the year, then set up Liam Folkes soon after. St. Lawrence finally responded late in the third, but a Nate Sucese empty-netter put the exclamation point on the 4-1 final.
The Nittany Lions end their upstate-New York road trip with a 1-1-0 record. A weekend sweep would have obviously been ideal, especially with a series at Minnesota looming, but any tune-up is welcome. Smirnov’s three-point night is a positive sign for things to come, though some other key offensive players surely would’ve liked to get on the scoreboard in the first two non-conference games. First-liners Chase Berger and Andrew Sturtz are still looking for their first points, while the defensive pairing of Erik Autio and Cole Hults is as well. Some of that can be chalked up to a powerplay that is 1-for-10 on the year, another part of the team that needs work before next weekend.
Overall, this was a net-positive weekend for the Nittany Lions, but there is some clear early-season rust to shake off. We’ll have more coverage of the team this week before Big Ten play starts on Friday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4.