Hockey Game Grades: NCAA Tournament
Penn State was able to show off the youth that they have on the team in the two games they played in the NCAA Tournament. The Nittany Lions played incredible in their first ever NCAA Tournament game, winning by a score that many thought was unreachable, 10-3, over Union. Everything went right for them this game offensively and defensively. They moved on to the next round to play the overall number one in the tournament, Denver. Denver outskated Penn State, winning 6-2. Penn State showed that they have a very bright future ahead for this program.
Penn State v Union
This will probably be the best game that Penn State may have in the programs history offensively. Penn State was able to score 10 goals throughout the game, five of which came in the third period. Chase Berger and Nate Sucese had 2 goals each and the team generated 33 shots on goal. The offense was flying and they looked very fresh. Kris Myllari’s slap shot from the blue line was the best goal scored all game.
The defense played just as well as the offense did. They let up three goals overall, which is not bad at all. Watching the game, it felt like Penn State was blocking all of the shots. The defense, led by Kris Myllari and David Thompson, caused many turnovers on the day and made Union try to force many passes that weren’t going to make it through.
Even while giving up 3 goals, Peyton Jones played a solid game with 22 saves on the night. His rebound control was in check this game and he did very well with that. The defense definitely made it easier for Jones to do his job.
Penn State v. Denver
The offense looked very tired in this game and couldn’t get many opportunities against a strong defensive team in Denver. Even though the Nittany Lions scored 2 goals, nothing seemed to be clicking for them. Penn State only had 27 shots on goal, which is very low for what they usually averaged in a game this year. Penn State turned over the puck too many times to be successful in this game
The defense also looked tired compared to the fast-paced offense of the Pioneers. They took sloppy penalties that were very unnecessary in this game. Giving up 6 goals in a game is very tough for a defense to gain any momentum. Denver did a good job getting the puck around and finding open spaces in the ice and made the most of their opportunities.
No one can blame Peyton Jones for all 6 goals that Denver scored in this game. The one-timers were where Jones struggled the most in this game. Jones was forced to try to make pipe to pipe saves and some he bit way too early and exposed a wide-open net for the Pioneers. His rebound control he struggled a bit in the beginning, but as the game went on, he improved in that area. Jones, only a freshman, has many more games and potentially 3 more tournament runs in which he will be dangerous for any other team to face.
Anthony Spada is a freshman majoring in security and risk analysis. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.