Game Grades: No. 10 Penn State vs No. 13 Princeton
One game, one chance for Penn State to prove they belong in a matchup against Princeton: The second top-20 team the Nittany Lions played this season. Penn State came out on top Friday night with a 4-2 win to start their season with five straight wins.
The Nittany Lions offense kept the energy they started their season with in Friday’s matchup.
The team scored four goals on 34 shots. Junior forward Denis Smirnov put Penn State on the
board first in the first two minutes of the game, and the Nittany Lions kept no less than a
one-point lead throughout the rest of the game. Sophomore forward Alex Limoges scored the
next goal only two minutes later. Forwards Brandon Biro and Ludvig Larsson recorded goals in
the second and third periods respectively.
Penn State also dominated the faceoffs, winning 46 and losing only 21.
Penn State’s performance would’ve been flawless if it wasn’t for their lack of productivity with
the man advantage, as Princeton successfully went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Penn State’s defensive performance was anchored by fantastic goalie play from Peyton Jones.
Jones tallied 32 saves while allowing only two goals. This Friday marked Jones’ third straight
30-plus save game.
Jones' contribution to the defense was not overlooked by head coach Guy Gadowsky, as he
commented on how much Jones means to the Nittany Lions defense. Gadowsky made it cleat that the defense has developed faster that he anticipated, but still attibured much of the team's success to the play between the pipes.
"To be fair, really good goaltending makes your defense look really good. We do have
some improvements to make on the back end, but we are very happy with what they have
done so far,” Gadowsky said.
The rest of the Nittany Lions' defense had issues with the power play, as they were called on
five penalties to Princeton’s four, and allowed one goal in five power plays. The backend did
Jones no favors, forcing him to make 32 saves.
While the defense did not play a perfect game, Jones proved his greatness once again in another
good outing, and the backend proved it can provide enough for the offense to secure the win.
As a team, this Friday’s performance was nothing short of spectacular. Penn State came out of
the gate ready to play, netting two goals in the first four minutes. After that, they never
allowed Princeton to make it even, and held its lead all the way to the end.
"I loved our mentality and the way we came out, and I actually feel really good about this win
because they are an excellent team," Gadowsky said. "They are just excellent. You saw what they do on the
power play and the skill they have. I thought they really, after the first five minutes, really took
it to us in the first. It feels really good to get the win."
The only thing stopping Gadowsky from earning an A+ was Penn State’s failure to convert on all
four power plays. However, the Nittany Lions' consistent scoring throughout the game made their lack of
conversions less problematic.
Francesco de Falco is a freshman majoring in journalism. To contact him, email