Too many breakaways broke down Penn State Friday in a 4-2 loss to No. 16 St. Lawrence.
Nittany Lions goalie Eamon McAdam was under attack most of the game, often turning away the Saints.
St. Lawrence’s opportunistic scores, however, sealed the deal against the junior net minder that Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky called the best player on the ice.
“I thought Eamon McAdam was fantastic,” Gadowsky said. “I don’t think the shots in the game or the score really is a good indication of the grade A, great opportunities they had. I thought he was excellent. I thought they played an extremely heavy game and we didn’t adjust to it.”
St. Lawrence’s goals came from a power play, a short-handed breakaway effort and two third-period goals, each within 20 seconds of a penalty being killed.
Asked if the team needed to be more cautious with the puck during penalty kills and power plays, Penn State’s David Goodwin said no.
Nittany Lions senior Luke Juha followed Goodwin’s answer.
“I think they had a really good penalty kill, and, you know, we weren’t able to solve it,” Juha said. “Obviously we’re going to move forward, look at film and see what we did wrong. We’ll try to fix whatever mistakes we were making. As a whole, you know, we really won’t change our game. It just comes down to playing better.”
Penn State’s David Glen was called for holding 4:36 into the third period.
The Nittany Lions killed the penalty, but Saints winger Drew Smolcynski fired a slap shot for his first goal of the season seven seconds after play returned to even strength. It was the game-winning goal that put St. Lawrence up 3-2.
St. Lawrence tallied its fourth goal when Sean McGovern deflected a shot off McAdam on a breakaway and Mike Marnell finished the play. The score came 14 seconds after the Saints killed a power play.
The Nittany Lions tied the game at two 16:57 into the second period when Juha scored his first goal of the season. Juha had a wide open net after Goodwin clanked a shot off Kyle Hayton’s leg pad.
Penn State’s Andrew Sturtz drew a penalty behind the net when he battled with two St. Lawrence defenders. One of them, Mike Graham, held Sturtz when he gained possession to give the Nittany Lions their third power play.
Juha misplayed a puck at the blue line with about 10 seconds left on the power play, allowing the Saints’ Sean McGovern a breakaway. McGovern deked McAdam right and tapped the puck into the net to give the Saints a 2-0 lead 9:39 into the second period.
Penn State responded 24 seconds later on its fourth power play when Kenny Brooks went top shelf in front of the crease off a pass by Chase Berger from behind the net. The power play was granted to the Nittany Lions after St. Lawrence’s Tommy Thompson was called for hooking.
The Saints got on the board first when Alex Hagen got a power goal down low. Penn State’s Kenny Brooks was penalized 17:43 into the first period for interference to put St. Lawrence on the power play.
St. Lawrence’s Eric Sweetman set up the goal with a pass to Smolcynski, who glided left to right along the blue line, waiting for the right moment and triggered a shot into traffic. Hagen redirected the puck in front of McAdam and into the net.
McAdam stopped Marnell on breakaways in the first and second period, the second a short-handed scoring opportunity, and McGovern on another in the third period.
Penn State will travel to Niagara for its next game Nov. 6.