UMass Lowell Blanks Penn State
Penn State (3-4-1, 0-0-0 Big Ten) was shutout by the UMass Lowell River Hawks (7-4-0, 2-1-0 HEA) by a score of 4-0 on Thursday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
The River Hawks came into Happy Valley as the first big test for the Nittany Lions thus far, simply because they made an appearance in the Frozen Four last season. This game was a measuring stick to see where Penn State stood in comparison to top tier teams in Division 1 hockey.
UMass Lowell struck first just 1:51 into the game, with a goal from Adam Chapie as he was left alone in the slot due to a defensive breakdown. The Nittany Lion defense was caught with three players below the goal line, allowing Chapie to be left alone and snap a loose puck past Matthew Skoff to give the River Hawks the 1-0 edge.
Nate Jensen, one of the defenders caught behind the net, said,
“It’s tough, we can’t have that. We have to clear bodies out of the front of the net.”
Penn State had to adjust to the speed of the River Hawks to keep up and stay in the game. The pace was high and both teams battled hard through the rest of the first period. Things even got a bit chippy as both teams had one power play in the first. Headed into the first intermission, UMass led the game 1-0. UMass also led 10-9 in the shot department.
The Nittany Lions came out in the second period with a lot more energy and confidence, as they were able to sustain more pressure in the offensive zone. The momentum swung back and forth as both teams could not put the puck past the opposing goalie. The River Hawks were able to get a huge second goal at 5:56, as Scott Wilson jammed in a rebound off a net mouth scramble. It was the break UMass was looking for to get an insurance marker and to kill the momentum Penn State was starting to build.
Exactly two minutes later the River Hawks struck for a third time, as Derek Arnold drove hard to the net to backhand home, a rebound that Skoff could not handle. This extended the deficit to three and put the Nittany Lions in a hole that was hard to come out of. Entering the second intermission, the River Hawks led 3-0 and the shots were even at twenty-four a piece.
Penn State gave a strong effort in the third period, outshooting their opponent 13-6, but still could not find a way to beat goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (a draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets). Derek Arnold added his second goal of the game at 18:02, capping the 4-0 win for the River Hawks.
This was a hard fought game by both teams. Penn State had opportunities to get themselves in the game, but could did not finish like the River Hawks. UMass Lowell was able to block a lot of shots and crack down to stop second chance opportunities, which ended up to be the difference in the game.
Head coach Guy Gadowsky praised UMass Lowell after the game.
“I think they’re better. They play a tremendous game, are disciplined and don’t give you much. Their coaching staff is grade A and they play like it.”
This is the type of competition the Nittany Lions will see during the rest of their season, especially in the Big Ten. The opportunity to play a team of this stature twice is something that Gadowsky thinks is a positive for his team moving forward.
“This is a tremendous scheduling opportunity to see what it takes to beat a team like UMass Lowell, who made it to the Frozen Four. I think we got a bit of a lesson.”
The Nittany Lions get their second crack at the River Hawks on Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena for a 7pm puck drop.
Tim Behan is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.