MLAX: Nittany Lions Tripped Up By Maryland in Overtime

Story posted April 11, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Alissa Devine

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Coming off of a win at Ohio State, the Penn State Nittany Lions lost a devastating Big Ten home opener to the No. 5 Maryland Terrapins as the Terrapins downed the Nittany Lions 11-10 in overtime with 43 seconds remaining on the clock.

For a majority of the first half, Penn State (7-4, 1-1) dominated on the offensive end, using their speed and unrelenting pressure to their advantage.

Regardless of the Terrapins (8-2, 2-0) opening up the scoring with a Colin Heacock goal at 12:39, there was a back and forth battle between the two teams. However, Penn State went on a 3-0 run to close the first quarter and led Maryland 5-3. The goals of Grant Ament, Kevin Hill, and Nick Aponte were all unassisted.

Less than one minute into the second quarter, the Terrapins’ Brian Cole scored to cut Penn State’s lead to only one.

The Nittany Lions again, however, fired back with three goals as a result of their skilled consistency on the offensive side. Mike Sutton netted two of the three goals in that span to register a first half hat trick, in addition to TJ Sander scoring his 21st goal on the season.

Sutton talked about the team’s main goal to start the game and said, “From the start of the week we talked about possession. The biggest thing was long sustained positions. We needed to execute because this is a great defense, one of the best in the country. That’s what we did, but we came up short and we’re looking towards next week now.”

In the second half of the game, Maryland’s defense was the main story as opposed to Penn State’s possession game, despite head coach Jeff Tambroni encouraging his team to come out in the second with the same amount of intensity as the first.

The Terrapins outscored the Lions 2-1 in the third in part of the tightened up Maryland defense and presence of goaltender Kyle Bernlohr.

Tambroni thought that Bernlohr’s impact in the second half changed the tide of the game.

“They tightened up and stretched out their defense a little bit, which made it more challenging for us to move the ball,” said Tambroni. “However, I honestly just thought their goalie played really well and in the second half he had 14 saves.”

The two battling teams with more of an emphasis on defense found themselves tied at nine going into the fourth quarter.

The Terrapins looked to pull ahead with 10:40 remaining after Connor Kelly scored to take a 10-9 lead. However, Keenan scored off of a feed from Ament to tie the game, 10-10 with 8:52 left in regulation.

The Nittany Lion defense shined in the final minutes of the game, holding off offensive pressure from Maryland to force overtime.

The Lions had a couple of chances to secure the win in the final quarter with an opportunity from captain James Burke, but he hit the post on the shot. Penn State called a time out after that play and led to two more Nittany Lion shots on goal before the Terrapins regained possession.

With the clock winding down in overtime, Cole ripped a shot past Nittany Lion goalie Will Schreiner, who finished with eight saves, to register game-winner with just 43 seconds remaining.

Tambroni liked his team’s intensity in the second and thought it matched that of the first, but thought his team could not finish on the offensive end due to less sustained pressure.

"I don't think there was a lot of negative from tonight and that's a tough thing," Tambroni said. "We still lost and other than the fact that it's a loss, I thought our guys played their hearts out on this field, but we just couldn't make one more play at the end. Hopefully we learn how to win these games because it wasn’t meant to be tonight.”

Alissa Devine is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email alissadevine96@gmail.com