As the final horn sounded, Eamon McAdam skated away from the crease and threw his arms into the air in celebration as his teammates rushed toward him from the bench.
He had been waiting for a year-and-a-half for this one.
The sophomore goaltender earned his first career win at home, with Eric Scheid scoring two goals and assisting on another in a 4-1 victory over Ohio State on Saturday evening at Pegula Ice Arena.
“Hopefully the team starts rolling,” McAdam said, “and can feed off the energy of this.’
Curtis Loik and David Goodwin netted the other scores for the Nittany Lions (10-7-2, 4-2), who ended a three-game losing skid and are tied for the Big Ten lead with Michigan.
Matthew Weis scored for the Buckeyes (7-10-2, 2-3), and Christian Frey stopped 31 shots.
In his first home start of the season, and first at Pegula since Feb. 7, 2014, McAdam made 35 saves for his fourth win of the season.
“It’s good, just knocking back milestones here,” said McAdam, who had earned his first career win in November after posting a 0-9 record as a freshman. “It’s a good win in general. We needed a bounce-back. We showed a lot of character today.”
A number of his stops were highlight-worthy, including stopping Weis on a shorthanded breakaway off a Nittany Lion turnover as Penn State was trying to hang onto a two-goal lead with 6:56 left.
“That could have greatly changed the momentum and the complex of the game,” coach Guy Gadowsky said of the breakaway stop. “He deserves a ton of credit for that.”
It also was a big day for Scheid, who missed six weeks with a concussion. Friday was his first game back in the lineup.
“I took a couple of hard hits and I felt fine,” Scheid said. “It kind of opened my eyes to think, ‘All right, I’m back, I’m ready to go.’”
Penn State cashed in on a power play opportunity in the final minute of the first period, when Scheid emerged from a scrum of bodies along the side boards with the puck, skated toward the net and fed it across to Loik for his fifth goal of the season.
It was the first Nittany Lion goal with a man advantage since Dec. 6 at Wisconsin, after a run of 0 for 8 on the power play.
The Buckeyes evened the game on a second-period 5 on 3 power play, with Christian Lampasso feeding the puck across the crease to Weis on the doorstep.
Penn State took the lead again on a rush up the ice when Taylor Holstrom fed the puck from behind the net to Goodwin standing next to the post, and the sophomore tapped in his eighth of the season.
“They’re playing with a lot more confidence,” Ohio State coach Steve Rohik said of the Nittany Lions. “They’re well-coached, they play the right way, they’re more experienced, they’re playing with two or three freshmen in the lineup. We can’t say they’re young anymore.”
Just 50 seconds later as the teams were skating 4 on 4, Scott Conway tapped the puck away from a Buckeye in the neutral zone to start a 2 on 0 break with Scheid. Conway slipped the puck across to the junior for an easy score and a two-goal lead.
“I didn’t even see Scheid until I got to the blue line,” Conway said. “Then all of a sudden he comes flying by me. I’m like, all right, thinking pass the whole time. I made a decent move on the goalie, made him freeze for a second and had Scheid back door.”
Scheid closed the scoring in the final minute with his ninth goal of the season by picking off a cross-ice pass and firing the puck from the blue line into an empty net after Frey was pulled for an extra attacker.
After a lackluster second period on Friday led to a furious third-period comeback before falling 5-4 in overtime, the team had a much more steady showing Saturday.
“Tonight I certainly felt we were more consistent,” Gadowsky said. “We certainly didn’t reach the highs out of the gate that we did last night, but the positive part is it was more consistent.”