Penn State now has the answers to a lot of trivia questions after their 4-1 win Friday night against Army in the opener of the Pegula Ice Arena.
With the crowd of 6,730 pumped up, the Black Knights’ approach for the first period was in five-minute increments, coach Brian Riley said in the post-game press conference.
“We knew they were going to come out with a lot of energy and emotion,” Riley said. “I don’t think our guys were nervous. I thought they were obviously keyed up and so excited that it might hurt them with some of the penalties [Penn State] took.”
However, the Nittany Lions scored just three minutes into the game when junior Taylor Holstrom found defenseman Nate Jensen at the top of the point. Jensen then slapped a shot that buzzed through traffic in front of the net and past Army goaltender Rob Tadazak’s left shoulder.
Jensen said he didn’t remember much after scoring the goal and instead focused more on the impact of the goal.
“I’d say it’s just a big goal for Penn State hockey,” Jensen said.
The Lions caught, center Kenny Brooks was saddled with a game misconduct after a poorly-timed check from behind.
Even though it was a setback, Lions’ coach Guy Gadowsky thought it allowed some of the freshmen to have opportunities to play in different situations.
The second period was scoreless, but got tense as the second intermission approached. Penn State committed three penalties in a three minute-span. Despite all of the power-play time, including a five-on-three, the Black Knights couldn’t find the net to tie the game.
While on the penalty kill after winning a battle at his own blue line, freshman David Goodwin and sophomore Curtis Loik buried a quick snap shot past Tadazak glove-side.
Tadazak was shaken up in the third period after a stray stick caught the junior in the groin. After laying facedown on the ice for a couple of minutes, Tadazak was able to get back on his feet and finish the game.
Shortly thereafter, Goodwin found himself with the puck after a fortunate bounce in the neutral zone that led to a three-on-0. The freshman accelerated past his teammates, who let him take to the net and bury it.
Like his veteran teammate, the freshman didn’t remember much about the goal.
“It was pretty crazy,” Goodwin said. “The only thing I really remember from the goal was Dylan Richard, who was behind me. I knew we at least had a two-on-0 and I later found out that we had a three-on-0. Richard was yelling at me to [shoot and not wait for him].”
While it was too little, too late, the Black Knights were able to avoid getting shut out after defenseman Mac Lalor connected on a tic-tac-toe play from Willie Faust and Jonathan Gehrt. The play was reviewed, but quickly determined it was a good goal.
With under a minute to play, Tadazek was brought to the bench for the extra attacker. Army’s fate was sealed after freshman Eric Scheid tapped home a pass from David Glen for the empty-net goal.
In the end, Penn State’s high energy wound up causing them to accumulate 11 penalties for 33 minutes on the night, while Army only committed three penalties for six minutes.
Despite having more penalty minutes than he would have liked, for Gadowsky, the atmosphere from the student section inside the arena was nothing like he has ever seen before.
“This is a whole different deal,” Gadowsky said. “[The passion] is why a lot of us came here. It was awesome. It feels so good to hear that and when you score a goal and you see that coming, you feel an avalanche. They’re a big factor.”