PITTSBURGH — Penn State’s second night in Pittsburgh was not nearly as enjoyable as the first.
Boston College’s offense made sure of it.
After a tight first period, the seventh-ranked Eagles skated away with the title in the Three Rivers Classic on Saturday night with an 8-2 thumping of the Nittany Lions at Consol Energy Center.
“What happened? You have to give a lot of credit to Boston College,” Nittany Lions coach Guy Gadowsky said. “I don’t think we took our foot off the gas. I think we got a little tentative when they started to roll. You have to give them a lot of credit. They’re just a scary offensive team and they make so many plays. They really did put us back on our heels.”
Casey Bailey and David Goodwin had the Penn State goals — the first and last scores of the night, while BC netted eight in a row. It followed a 62-shot effort in a 3-2 win over Robert Morris on Friday.
Destry Straight had a hat trick for the Eagles (12-4-2). Ryan Fitzgerald, Kevin Hayes, Johnny Gaudreau, Danny Linell and Michael Sit each netted one goal.
“Penn State started the game with a little bit of an edge, a little bit of a headstart on us,” BC coach Jerry York said. “They were winning some puck battles, scoring the first goal. I thought our team hung in there and got stronger and stronger as the game went on.”
The game was even in one area — each team had 33 shots on goal. But Nittany Lion goalie Matthew Skoff had a rough night, making 20 saves over two periods before being pulled after allowing five goals. PJ Musico made five saves in the third period.
Brian Billett made 31 saves for the Eagles.
Bailey scored his goal, with help from Jonathan Milley, 4:46 into the game, and Penn State (4-10-1) appeared in good shape.
“I felt very good about how we were playing,” Gadowsky said. “I think shots at that point were 5-1. We were playing our game and (were) very optimistic.”
However a pair of Eagle goals 33 seconds apart in the final two minutes of the opening period — the first on the power play for Fitzgerald and the second by Hayes — shifted momentum.
“Their second goal was really a turning point,” Gadowsky said. “I thought Zach Saar made a good play to backcheck. He got called for a penalty, but I thought he made the right play. When they scored, that’s fine, we’re still in it. But the next quick goal after that was the turning point. I think it put us back on our heels and we didn’t have the same — we didn’t dictate play after that.”
Eric Sheid assisted on Goodwin’s goal with 2:33 left in the contest.
The game is the latest in a tough stretch for the Nittany Lions, playing their seventh ranked opponent in the last eight games, with their next two games Jan. 12 and 13 hosting No. 1 Minnesota. Boston College will visit Pegula Ice Arena on Jan. 25.
“The timing was really good for us,” Gadowsky said. “It doesn’t get any easier. Great to have this experience.”
Bowling Green won the consolation game earlier Saturday 3-2 over Robert Morris.