Penn State Tops Princeton 4-2
Penn State defeated Princeton 4-2 in a wild battle between two AP Top 20 squads. The Nittany Lions were ranked No .10 entering the weekend, and Tigers were ranked No. 13.
Penn State made haste in scoring first in this one, as Junior Left Wing Denis Smirnov scored just under two minutes into the first period off of a breakaway, putting the puck past the left skate of Princeton goaltender Ryan Ferland.
The Nittany Lions extended their lead to 2-0 when left wing Alex Limoges scored a goal of his own. Penn State was owning the Tigers at that point, outshooting them 9-2.
Princeton would manage to match the Lions for their speed and aggressiveness, however, as it would finish the first period narrowly outshooting Penn State 16-15.
The improved pace for the Tigers would pay dividends in the second period as defenseman Matthew Thom helped put his team on the board with an unassisted goal with 17:23 left in the period to pull within 2-1.
Penn State would strike back though, as right-wing Brandon Biro would score off a pass from Nate Sucese with 15:55 left in the second period to make it a 3-1 game.
“The biggest play tonight was Nate Sucese, he showed so much speed, and to go into dangerous areas and do an unbelievable to forecheck that puck for Brandon was a huge play in the game,” Head Coach Guy Gadowsky said.
Penn State reigned supreme in the faceoff category, crushing the Tigers with 46 faces off wins, compared with a meager 21 from Princeton. Gadowsky says the team has been focused on improving in this area. The deficit was especially apparent in the second period, as the Lions lead the Tigers 21-4 in that area.
“It’s something that we’ve struggled with last year and talk a lot about, we finished 44th in the nation, but it’s my responsibility, we laxed in that area and we learned a lesson and it’s really hard to flip that switch. It’s something that we’ve addressed from the start,” Gadowsky said.
Princeton would score again as center Alex Riche netted a power-play goal after receiving a pass from Max Veronneau. This followed a charging call on Brandon Biro after he careened into Princeton goaltender Ryan Ferland in the crease.
Penn State answered back just two minutes later, as center Ludvig Larsson scored an even-strength goal off of a pass from left wing Aarne Talvitie, giving Penn State the 4-2 lead and the final result.
Nittany Lions goalkeeper Peyton Jones lead the way with 32 saves and two goals allowed, earning first star honors on a night in which he started his 74th game, setting a new program record for career starts. Matt Skoff was the previous record holder.
Gadowsky commended Jones for his hard-working attitude.
“Peyton’s impact on the program has been immense, he’s been a big reason why we had a Big Ten championship as early as we had, and he’s also impacted the team through his work ethic. If it is possible to work too hard, then that would be Peyton. His work ethic is extreme, his commitment to making himself a better student, a better athlete, that’s an impact on our program,” Gadowsky said.
UP NEXT: Penn State hosts Arizona State in a two-game series on November 2 and 3.
Jeremy Ganes is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.