Penn State 6, Niagara 2: Wall Completes Hat Trick to Push Nittany Lions to Sweep

By Jacob Cheris on October 24, 2021 at 11:22 am
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Penn State completed its sweep over the Niagara Purple Eagles with a 6-2 win. This contest could have gone to either side because of how chippy it was. There was a combined total 50 penalty minutes. However, the Nittany Lions' penalty kill was perfect on the night. Liam Souliere stopped 33 of the 35 Niagara shots, and kept the Nittany Lions in the game. 


The first period was filled with penalties. Guy Gadowsky had to shuffle his line combinations due to Connor McMenamin being ejected from the game due to a hit from behind. Luckily, Tyler Paquette sniped a short-handed goal past Niagara goaltender Jake Sibell. Paquette also had an empty net goal, earning his first two goals as a Nittany Lion. 

As the McMenamin major penalty was about to expire, the Purple Eagles took a penalty of their own. The red-hot Kevin Wall was able to capitalize off of a beautiful pass from Clayton Phillips. 

Penn State was out-shot 16-8 in the first frame. 

The second period was even more of a grudge match. The Nittany Lions struggled to stay disciplined, taking far too many penalties. The only goal in the period came from Ryan Kirwan, which eventually became the game-winner. 

There was a total of seven penalties in the middle frame, one of which was a major penalty from Niagara. Gadowsky said that the penalties the Nittany Lions took were "stupid penalties". 

"If you do that that that will bite you and we know that. So not only were we careless mentality we were careless with our sticks," Gadowsky said. 

Niagara came out hard in the third period, making the game a one-goal deficit. But Penn State was able to push back due to the great hustle of Wall, potting in his second goal of the game. 

The referees put their whistles away for the majority of the third period until Wall was awarded a penalty shot. 

Wall became the 10th player in program history to record a hat-trick. 


Takeaways

  • Too many careless penalties. Penn State had a total of 27 penalty minutes. If Penn State is going to be competitive against conference opponents, the Nittany Lions have to stay out of the sin bin. Hooking, tripping, slashing are all penalties that can be avoided if the Nittany Lions skate hard. 
  • Penalty Kill was terrific. The PK unit was a perfect 6 for 6 in the game. There was a stretch in the game where the Nittany Lions had three straight penalties. "The problem with killing penalties was not only just the fact of the power-play chances, but the guys that kill it's very physically taxing a lot of stopping and starting with a lot of battle, it's tough," Gadowsky said.
  • Kevin Wall is finding his stride. Wall had five goals in this series. He is skating very well and finding the open ice. Penn State needs him to keep playing at a point-per-game rate in order to be successful down the road. 

Penn State travels to Nashville for the Hockey Hall of Fame game against North Dakota. The game will be played at Bridgestone Arena, which is the home of the Nashville Predators. That game kicks off at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 30. 

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