One day after dominating Alaska-Anchorage, the Penn State men’s ice hockey team just barely got by, winning 3-1 on Saturday night.
Nate Sucese had a big game for the Nittany Lions with two goals and one assist, contributing on all of Penn State’s goals.
Alaska-Anchorage was called hooking 3:40 into the game and Penn State took advantage, scoring their first goal from Brandon Biro. Sucese and Kevin Kerr were credited with assists on the play.
“It’s a read,” said coach Guy Gadowsky said about the play. “It was a great read from Nate Sucese and Brandon Biro to understand what was happening. When Zach Saar pulled out of the slot, he pulled two guys with him. But both Nate and Biro realized it.”
Gadowsky also praised Secese for his performance. “I think it was fitting that Nate got the last (goal). He did some great things. I thought he read the plays very well tonight.”
The Nittany Lions kept bringing the pressure for most of the first two periods, looking for a second goal. Nikita Pavlychev found Derian Hamilton who fired a shot wide of the net, but the shot rebounded off the back wall and Sucese was in perfect position to score the second goal.
At the start of the third, Alaska-Anchorage started to find some offense and Tad Kozun scored 5:54 in the period to cut the Nittany Lion lead in half. The game was close to being tied as Alaska-Anchorage continued to bring the pressure and hit the pipe.
Penn State stood their ground and Sucese sealed the win for the Nittany Lions with 23.1 seconds remaining on an open netter. Ricky DeRosa was credited with the assist on the play.
Despite the performance, Sucese knows the team needs to stay focused with a tough stretch of games coming up. “(The win) pushes us in the right direction,” Sucese said. “It feels good to get on the score sheet, obviously we’ve got work to do with another big series next weekend going into the Michigan weekend after Thanksgiving break.”
Penn State has not lost since Oct. 7, and Sucese said the team is feeling confident, starting with the goaltenders. “I think it starts with Peyton (Jones) and Funks (Chris Funkey), whoever starts in the net. If either are on their game, then it helps the defense out and it helps the forwards. I just think we’re meshing well, everyone is buying into Penn State hockey. I don’t think who we play changes the way we play.
The Nittany Lions are now 9-1-1 on the season and have a series with Arizona State next week on Nov. 18th and Nov. 19 back in the Pegula Ice Arena.
Notes: Penn State once again played without leading goal-scorer Andrew Sturtz, and Gadowsky is unsure of Sturtz’s status for next week. “I honestly don’t know,” Gadowsky said. “I just do what (team trainer) Justin Rogers says.” … Penn State finished 1 for 5 on the power play. Anchorage was 1 for 3.