Penn State 4, Niagara 0: Autio Stops All 23 Shots, Wall Scores Twice in Game One Win

By Jacob Cheris on October 22, 2021 at 8:00 am
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The Nittany Lions continued their hot start to the regular season on Thursday night in Happy Valley with a shutout win over Niagara. With the win, Penn State is now 7-0-1 in its last eight contests with the Purple Eagles. This time around, a strong offensive attack paired with a flawless night from netminder Oskar Autio got the job done.


Penn State had a very strong first period, outshooting Niagara 17-5. Kevin Wall got on the score sheet first tallying his second goal of the season.

One player who stood out on that play was Ben Copeland. Copeland, a transfer from Colorado College, played with so much speed and was able to use that quickness to find Wall on the back door.

The second period was equally fast-paced. The Nittany Lions were crashing the net and putting more shots on goal. Ben Schoen scored his first as a Nittany Lion on a rebound and Christian Berger added shortly thereafter. Berger now has a career-high five points on the season.

Early in the third period, Penn State caught Niagara lacking on a bad line change. Ryan Kirwan found a wide-open Wall and he made no mistake. That entire line was terrific tonight.

"I think early in the year they were trying to play a very cute game," Guy Gadowsky said after the win. "It's not really what makes us successful. I think they played a much harder game today, a much simpler harder game."

Defenseman Clayton Phillips returned to the lineup for the first time since picking up an injury against LIU in the second game of the season. He did not get on the scoresheet, but Guy Gadowsky was impressed with his play.

"When he uses his legs he gives us another weapon from the back so he helps obviously the back end defensively," Gadowsky said. "He skates so well, he creates offense from the back end for our forwards."


Takeaways

  • Chemistry is starting to form. Passes have been crisper up the ice and guys are starting to learn to play with each other. The top line of Copeland, Wall, and McMenamin combined for five points tonight.
  • Poor finish Niagara was starting to make a push at the end of the game. The Purple Eagles outshot the Nittany Lions 12-5 in the final frame. Oskar Autio came up with key saves, but this team will have to avoid such stretches in conference play or it'll open itself up to some heartbreaking losses.
  • Autio on point. Autio stopped all 23 Niagara shots and came up large on defensive breakdowns. "You just know you're gonna get from him night in and I know he's a very steady goalie," Wall said. "He makes the plays, he needs to make and he also makes more so I think he's got a lot of confidence right now which is good for his game." It is worth noting that Gadowsky did not guarantee a second straight start for him.

With the win, Penn State moves to 4-1 on the season. These two teams will square off in game two of the series on Friday in Happy Valley. Puck drop is set for 7:00 pm ET.

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