UNIVERSITY PARK — For the second straight night, Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky was encouraged to see his team get on the board early, a notion that has been unfamiliar to the Nittany Lions this year.
Theres not a coach in the world that doesnt want to score the first goal and when you do, it feels good, Gadowsky said. So, it has felt good twice in a row. That certainly doesnt win you the game alone, but its always nice to score first.
After defeating Alabama-Huntsville 4-0 on Friday, Penn State completed their two game series against the Chargers last night with a 4-3 win Saturday.
Due to injuries to Nate Jensen and Joseph Lordo, Penn State was limited to four defensemen during the game. Gadowsky was impressed with how his defense played considering the circumstances.
Im really happy with this win, he said. With four (defensemen), youve got to give them a lot of credit. I mean thats tough. And I thought it was really fitting that the game-winning goal was scored by a defenseman.
At the 4:27 mark of the third period, Mark Yanis received a pass from Taylor Holstrom and scored the goal that ultimately pushed Penn State over the top. Yanis goal came after an interesting series of events.
It was a big change of pace, Yanis said. The kid ripped the shot during the penalty kill. It hit me right in between the ankle and the shot blocker. I couldnt really feel my leg for a little while, but I mean I rubbed it off. I went out there; I think it was the first or second shift after that. I had one shot blocked by me and then the puck kinda came back to me right in my wheelhouse and I just buried it.
Penn State opened the scoring at the 11:15 mark of the first period. Casey Bailey scored his 13th goal of the season, with assists coming from Taylor Holstrom and Peter Sweetland.
Penn State struck again at the 9:15 mark of the second period when David Glen scored his 16th goal of the season on a one-timer from Max Gardiner.
Yet, Alabama-Huntsville would not be silenced for the second straight night. The Chargers answered later in the period when Kyle Lysaght scored a power play goal, with Michael Webley and Chad Brears tallying the assists on the play.
At the beginning of the third period, Alabama-Huntsville tied the game when Justin Cseter scored a power play goal at the 19:06 mark, with assists coming from Jeff Vanderlugt and Kyle Lysaght.
On a controversial call, Penn State took the lead at the 12:37 mark when Kenny Brooks pushed through a scramble of players and nudged the puck into the net. David Glen was credited with the assist.
Chargers head coach Kurt Kleinendorst was disappointed with the call.
I thought it was two teams that played hard and its unfortunate that it came down to the goal that I dont think was a goal, said Kleinendorst. Its disheartening, but it is what it is. And you know what, were all human. The referees are human. Some nights they have better nights than others and I think tonight was a rough night.
At the 7:40 mark, Alabama-Huntsville answered yet again when Graeme Strukoff assisted Brice Geoffrion for his first goal of the season. Yet, Yanis goal just a few minutes later sealed the 4-3 victory for the Nittany Lions.
After posting a shutout on Friday, Nittany Lions goaltender Matthew Skoff had another strong performance, recording 24 saves.
Penn State improved to an overall record of 12-13 on the season. The Nittany Lions will finish off their home schedule on Feb. 15 and 16 against ACHA (American Collegiate Hockey Association) opponent Oklahoma.
Jon Blauvelt is a Penn State journalism student.