Penn State Swats Yellow Jackets 7-5 in Home-Opener

By Doug Leeson on October 19, 2017 at 9:32 pm
Denis Smirnov

via Chris Sponagle/Onward State

Box Score
  1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Final
American Int'l 1 2 2 5
Penn State 2 3 2 7

After raising a championship banner, Penn State opened its home slate with a win over the American International College Yellow Jackets. It was a weird game that ended with a weird result, but a win’s a win and that’s what the Nittany Lions will take into Friday’s rematch.

With lofty expectations heading into the series, allowing the first goal five minutes in, stung. The Nittany Lions headed to the man-advantage three minutes later looking for the equalizer and had a lot of nice chances, leading to their tenth shot of the game finding the twine to even the score. With 7:16 to go in the frame and on another dominating powerplay, a scramble in front of the net ended with Trevor Hamilton stuffing the puck past the goalie. With a couple seconds left on the clock, playing shorthanded, Chase Berger took the puck up the boards and found a wide-open Andrew Sturtz who did what wide-open Andrew Sturtzs do. Penn State led 2-1 on the scoreboard and 22-7 in shots after one.

Scoring Summary
Team Scoring Time (Pd.)
AIC Martin Mellberg (1)
Kapcheck, Luka
5:01 (1)
PSU Trevor Hamilton (1)
Autio, Berger
12:44 (1)
PSU Andrew Sturtz (3)
19:27 (1)
PSU Liam Folkes (2)
5:27 (2)
AIC Dominik Florian (2)
7:38 (2)
PSU Cole Hults (1)
Sturtz, Berger
9:03 (2)
PSU Brandon Biro (2)
Smirnov, Jones
15:13 (2)
AIC Kyle Stephan (1)
Kocur, Polin
15:41 (2)
PSU Denis Smirnov (4)
Biro, Hults
0:49 (3)
PSU Kris Myllari (2)
Limoges, Murray
5:19 (3)
AIC Shawn McBride (2)
10:58 (3)
AIC Hugo Reinhardt (1)
Mellberg, Demel
15:54 (3)

The Nittany Lions dictated play for the first few minutes of the second before heading to a powerplay 5:21 in. If you blinked when the puck was dropped, you missed Liam Folkes receive the faceoff and snipe it low-glove to take a 3-1 lead. AIC called timeout and scored soon after on a 2-on-1, but freshman defenseman Cole Hults scored his first goal as a Nittany Lion to retake the two-goal lead. The teams traded one goal each a little later in the period (Brandon Biro scored his second of the year for Penn State).

It took until the start of the third period to look like Penn State would bury the Yellow Jackets. Denis Smirnov, after an incredible first two periods, finally scored on a wrap-around before Kris Myllari went bar-down soon after for the 7-3 lead. AIC added a shorthanded goal a little later and scored on a 5-on-3 right after that to lock in the final score, 7-5.

Quotes and Notes

  • Gadowsky: "First of all, tremendous to be back in Pegula. The crowd was tremendous and needed."
  • Chase Berger had three assists in this game; Gadowsky credited that partially to Andrew Sturtz, who dominated on every shift.
  • Five goals allowed against AIC? It’s not actually as bad as it seems. Jones didn’t see the puck on the first shot (fluke), a two-on-one was the result of Penn State’s aggressiveness on offense (the best part of their game), the shorthanded goal came after Marsh knocked a Jacket into Jones (fluke), and the final goal came on a 5-on-3 (which isn't the worst thing to allow).
  • Kevin Kerr and Evan Barratt were out again with injuries while Nate Sucese served a one-game suspension. Derian Hamilton paired up with Trevor Hamilton on D while the forwards were shifted a decent amount. Brandon Biro played center, Marsh changed lines, Murray took Marsh's place alongside Limoges and Folkes, and freshman defenseman Adam Pilewicz...played right wing on Smirnov’s line? Got all that?
  • Biro scored a goal and two assists. "First game at center? I thought it was really good," Gadowsky said.
  • "[Pilewicz] is one of those rare guys who's comfortable playing both," Gadowsky said of the freshman. He also noted how he ended up deep in his own zone a few times and looked awesome because he's used to skating down there.
  • More personnel notes: Marsh played in Sucese’s spot on the powerplay, and on the late 5-on-3, the lineup was Pavlychev-Autio-Gobetz.
  • Sturtz-Berger-Marsh was probably the best line in this game, but a pleasant surprise was the play of Murray-Limoges-Folkes. Murray is still figuring out his role on this team and Limoges has had flashes of greatness; neither has scored yet, but expect to see more of this grouping in the future.
  • Denis Smirnov is a good hockey player. This isn’t news. But despite all the dominant games he’s played, he stood out more than usual in this one. Pretty much every shift, he did something terrific and ended up with a goal and an assist. The Hobey Baker campaign is underway. *eye emoji*
  • We only saw Evan Barratt in the season-opener so he might not be on the forefront of most fans’ minds, but just keep in mind that Penn State scored seven goals tonight without who may be one of its best forwards. Gadowsky hasn’t and won’t provide detailed injury updates, but hopefully he isn’t out with anything too serious and we can see him again soon.

Penn State and AIC will rematch on Friday night at 7:00 PM E.T., once again at Pegula Ice Arena. The game will only be streamed on BTN-Plus.