This time, the momentum swung Penn State’s way.
A night after seeing the game get away from them, the Nittany Lion men’s hockey team took control with three goals in 2 minutes, 21 seconds of the second period.
It was a big confidence-builder in a 5-3 win over Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon at Pegula Ice Arena.
David Thompson, Chase Berger, Alec Marsh, Ricky DeRosa and Curtis Loik all found the net for the Nittany Lions (2-1).
Ben Ostlie, Dylan Malmquist and Mario Lucia scored for the Fighting Irish (1-1).
Eamon McAdam made 30 saves for the win, his second of the season.
“I was pretty happy with the way I battled back from things I couldn’t control, bounces you don’t see every game,” McAdam said. “… They had some chances late and I felt like I made some big saves. All I can ask for is kind of keep the team in it and give them a chance.”
Counterpart Cal Peterson made 34 saves.
In Friday’s home opener, the Fighting Irish raced to a 5-1 lead, saw a brief Penn State rally late in the second period to cut the lead to 5-3, then scored two more goals to open the third and squash whatever momentum the Nittany Lions had grabbed.
On Saturday afternoon, there was no early run for Notre Dame, and when the Penn State train got rolling, it was hard to stop.
“After we score one goal, it just gets electric on the ice,” said Kenny Brooks, who picked up three assists. “Everybody is really excited and more confident, and you just feel the ball starting to roll the other way. Once you get one, everybody’s confident, everybody’s going.”
The Irish had taken the lead with Malmquist’s goal just as a power play was expiring, but the Lions were hardly shaken.
Just 19 seconds later, Notre Dame was whistled for a penalty, and five seconds later the team was tagged for another infraction. The 1:55 of 5 on 3 for the Nittany Lions was a golden opportunity.
“It was a great opportunity,” Brooks said. “If we didn’t end up capitalizing, we knew that we had plenty of game left to do it.”
Brooks then set up Berger to tie it up, and with plenty of time left on the remaining penalty.
“We were throwing everything at the net,” Berger said. “There were rebounds there. Kenny’s goal, he threw it at a bad angle. For sure we saw him in there again, we wanted to make sure he was on his ‘A’ game. If not, we were going to capitalize.”
On their next shift on the ice, Brooks fired the puck at the net. Peterson made the stop, but the rebound went right to Marsh sweeping in from the other side, and the freshman, from behind the line, banked in the puck off the goalie.
“They put a lot of pressure on you, so you’ve got to try to make plays under pressure,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “You’ve got to have poise.”
Insurance came less than a minute after that, when Matt Mendelson forced a turnover and fed the puck ahead to DeRosa, who finished off a 2 on 1 break to beat Peterson.
With three goals in just over two minutes, the sold-out Pegula crowd was erupting.
“The crowd played a big part in that,” Gadowsky said. “They helped us out. … We rolled off three in a row, sort of got that snowball rolling with the crowd into it and that makes it fun. That certainly adds to the momentum. Yeah, it’s nice to be on that side of it.”
Notre Dame got one more from Lucia two minutes later, but never again solved McAdam despite turning up the pressure in the third period.
Loik closed the scoring with an empty-net tally in the final seconds, giving the teams 19 combined goals for the weekend.
Notre Dame had pulled Peterson despite being on the penalty kill, giving the Nittany Lions a 3 for 3 night on the power play. They have converted 6 of 9 chances through three games this season.
Ostlie put the Irish on the board 1:58 into the game, beating McAdam with a low wrist shot.
“It wasn’t necessarily they scored a goal — that happens. We’ve showed we could come back,” Gadowsky said. “We certainly didn’t come out with the same vigor that we did (Friday). That was a little concerning.”
Thompson tied it, tapping in a rebound as the puck slid behind Peterson in the crease after a tight-angle shot by Brooks.
The line of Loik, Berger and Brooks was the production line Saturday, as the trio combined for two goals and four assists.
“We all play a similar game where we keep it simple and move the puck and just try to crash the net hard,” Berger said. “That’s been great.”