The now-No. 15 Men’s Hockey team (11-7-2, 4-4-2) had a successful weekend against a usually-difficult opponent: Robert Morris. Instead, the Lions were able to pull of a series sweep with two big wins.
On Friday, the teams faced off at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, which drew many Pittsburgh-area fans for both Penn State and Robert Morris.
Despite an eventual 5-2 win over the Colonials, Penn State fell behind 1-0 in the first period after RMU scored a goal with seven minutes to go.
However, the Blue and White came out in full force to start the second period with Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.) sliding the puck past RMU’s keeper thanks to a perfect pass from teammate Brandon Biro (Sherwood Park, Alb.).
Just five minutes later, at the 10-minute mark, freshman Sam Sternschein (Syosset, N.Y.) was able to redirect a shot from a teammate and find the twine for a 2-1 lead.
Rounding out the second period was James Gobetz (St. James, N.Y.), who fired in the Lions’ third point of the night with 90 seconds to go before intermission.
The fire in the Lions’ skates only grew stronger in the third as sophomore standout Denis Smirnov (Moscow, Russia) used a rebound from Kris Myllari (Kanata, Ontario) to up the lead to 4-1 just 36 seconds into play.
The Colonials were able to scrape together a final goal for the night, but Penn State’s Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) slammed one more in at the 17-minute mark to drive home a 5-2 in the Steel City.
Goalie Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) made 28 saves. The Lions had 42 shots on the Colonials.
In one of its highest-scoring games yet this season, Penn State came away victorious on Saturday night as the two teams duked it out back in University Park.
Robert Morris yet again opened up the scoring, but Smirnov used two consecutive power plays to his advantage as he knocked in two goals within five minutes of each other to return the lead to Penn State.
Sucese was once again on top of his game as he did a quick back-and-forth passing series with Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis.) to fake out the defense and find the twine.
The Colonials rounded out the period with one more goal of their own with just eight seconds left in play.
Robert Morris was not about to give up, and found the back of Penn State’s net with seconds to go before intermission.
Although the third period could have been a nail-biter, Nikita Pavlychev (Yaroslavl, Russia) stayed calm and collected as he gave Penn State another point halfway through the third period.
The Colonials followed up yet again with a goal of their own, but Sucese and Berger fired home two more goals within a minute of each other to finish the game victorious, 7-4.
Jones recorded 33 saves for the Lions, who logged 43 shots against Robert Morris.
The Blue and White will return to the ice this Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. to face No. 13 Wisconsin, a scrappy team who always presents a challenge. We hope to see you loud and proud at Pegula Ice Arena this weekend, Happy Valley!