It was another split series this past weekend for No. 17 Penn State Hockey (5-5-0, 2-2-0) who hosted Mercyhurst University at the Pegula Ice Arena.
On Friday, the team struggled against Mercyhurst and fell 7-4.
A front-loaded game saw five goals alone scored in the first period.
Mercyhurst came out on fire and scored three goals in a row before Penn State even had the chance to get on the board.
Finally, with about three minutes to go in the first period, Andrew Sturtz (Buffalo, N.Y.) slid a shot past the opponent’s goalie in the right-hand corner to give Penn State some momentum.
Teammate Erik Autio (Espoo, Finland) ripped a shot that flew past Mercyhurst’s goalie to give Penn State now just a single-goal deficit heading into the second period.
Mercyhurst was relentless, and yet again opened up the scoring in the second period.
Penn State was not far behind, however, and Nikita Pavlychev (Yaroslavl, Russia) used a power play to his benefit to rocket in a shot to keep the goal deficit within one.
Freshman Sam Sternschein (Syosset, N.Y.) showed his strength on the ice by sneaking the puck past Mercyhurst with help of classmate Alex Limoges (Winchester, Va.) to keep things within one point before the intermission.
Sadly, Mercyhurst came out with a plan in the third period and was able to come away with two more goals to lock in a 7-4 victory over the Lions.
With no time to dwell on the loss, Penn State got right back after it on Saturday evening. Not ones to let a loss deter them, the Lions rallied and secured a 7-5 win against Mercyhurst.
James Robinson (Cochrane, Alberta) was a huge factor in the game, securing the Blue and White’s first three goals – two in the first period and one more in the second, to keep pace with Mercyhurst’s two in the first.
Despite Mercyhurst coming out strong in the third and opening with two goals, Penn State stayed the course and standouts Pavlychev and Sturtz came up clutch with a goal apiece before the final buzzer to grant PSU a 7-5 win and split series.
Jones recorded 36 saves for the Lions, who had 57 shots on Mercyhurst.
The team will need to be in top form as they travel to Indiana this weekend to take on No. 6-ranked Notre Dame at 7:30 and 7:05 on Friday and Saturday. Good luck, Lions!