|1st Period||2nd Period||3rd Period||Final|
Riding the coattails of an electric third period Game 1 performance and win, No. 16 Penn State came out swinging on No. 17 Clarkson, taking the Golden Knights for a ride with a 5-1 victory, and a huge opening series sweep against a fellow NCAA tournament contender.
After teammate Chris Funkey got the season-opening nod in net, Peyton Jones's name was called in Game 2 against the Golden Knights, and he was tested early. About a minute into the game, Clarkson got a couple really good licks in on Jones and ultimately opened the scoring on a 2-on-1 odd-man rush by top-line winger Grant Cooper to go up 1-0. The Nittany Lions had a quick answer, with Alex Limoges gobbling up the puck in front of goaltender Jake Kielly and slipping it five-hole through his pads to tie it up.
Aarne Talvitie, after creating a breakaway chance of his own that he couldn't bury, collected a rebound off the shot by Nikita Pavlychev and knocked it home, gifting Penn State with its first lead of the game.
Grant Cooper (1)
Alex Limoges (1)
Aarne Talvitie (1)
Nikita Pavlychev (1)
Brandon Biro (2)
Chase Berger (1)
Pavlychev wasn't finished with Kielly, and in just over five minutes into the second frame, he threw a bumbling shot on net and eventually pushed it through, ballooning the Lions' lead to 3-1. Brandon Biro then piled it on thanks to Nate Sucese forcing a turnover in the neutral zone. Sucese fed it to Biro, who then sprinted to the middle lane untouched and wristed it over the right shoulder of Kielly.
With the final minutes ticking down, Clarkson pulled Kielly a little early to try to chip away at Penn State's three-goal lead, but Chase Berger laughed in their face and slammed home an empty-netter to seal the win. The Nittany Lions broke out the brooms and coasted to a season opening sweep of the Golden Knights in dominant fashion. The Lions climbed to 2-0 on the season.
- I know it's the beginning of the season, but the defense still needs to tighten up if it's going to have any success shutting down talented opposing teams this season.
- Talvitie is looking superb so far. He finally buried his first collegiate goal, but his performances in this series have been really promising and full of offensive chances. His ceiling his so high.
- The penalty kill looks really good so far, surprisingly. Stevens took a huge block in the early stages that alleviated pressure off Jones. The Nittany Lions as a whole also had more than 20 blocks (!) in this game. That's phenomenal and a sure-fire way to replace the defensive talents that left Happy Valley via Trevor Hamilton.
- Biro has been the best player on the ice for two straight games. When he's out on his shift, the Lions are commanding play and his teammates seemingly elevate theirs. Sucese forced a huge turnover in the neutral zone that sprung Biro off on a breakaway. He's currently in the lead as the Lions' play-making sniper.
- Penn State's forwards are extremely good at controlling possession. In the first period, there was a solid two minutes of failed clears by the Golden Knights that all either got intercepted or knocked down by the Limoges-Barratt-Folkes line. If that group can keep that sort of zone control all season, they'll have loads of success. Their chase speed away from the puck is unmatched. No one works harder than them.
- Jones, who's batting with Chris Funkey and Oskar Autio for starting duties, was incredible all night. He boasted 35 saves and a .971 save percentage. That definitely beats the .905 floor Guy Gawdowsky set for him.
- The only critique I have from tonight was the low number of shots by Penn State. Gadowsky lamented about this during the first intermission, wishing his team was pressuring Kielly more than they were. In seasons past, the Lions usually put up roughly 60 SOG each game. Unlike Game 1, Penn State came out a little sloppy, but ended up with an early lead that cancelled that out. Just a tiny blip to fix moving forward.