Earlier in the week, Penn State men’s hockey coach Guy Gadowsky said the main reason his team was leading the nation in penalty killing was because they weren’t taking many penalties.
On Friday night, the Nittany Lion penalty killers had a lot of work but they were spectacular, and it resulted in a 3-3 tie with No. 3 Notre Dame at Compton Family Ice Arena.
Dylan Richard scored twice and Nikita Pavlychev netted the other goal for Penn State (2-1-1), while Peyton Jones made a number of huge saves among his 30. The last of those stops was on the Fighting Irish’s Bobby Nardella, sliding post-to-post to deny a 2 on 1 break, with just over a minute left in the extra five-minute overtime period.
“Extremely calm,” Gadowsky said after the game about the freshman goalie. “That was a huge save, and if you watch him … nothing bothers him. I think that’s a tremendous quality in a goalie.”
Jake Evans, Andrew Oglevie and Jordan Gross scored the goals for Notre Dame (3-1-1). Cal Petersen stopped 29 shots in net.
Penalties were a major issue for the Nittany Lions, who were called for 11 infractions. It resulted in nine power play opportunities for the Irish, and they were denied each time. Penn State, which was 15 for 15 killing penalties in the year’s first three games, has killed all 24 power plays to start the season.
“If we have to kill nine penalties in a game too often, you’re going to pay,” Gadowsky said. “We’ve got to do our best to figure that out.”
Penn State was 1 for 7 with a man advantage, succeeding on its first chance of the night.
That success came just 2:16 into the game and seven seconds into that power play, from Pavlychev. The big freshman knocked in a rebound as he was checked to the ice after a shot from Trevor Hamilton was deflected by Chase Berger.
With Penn State on a power play later in the first period, Dawson Cook forced a turnover for a breakaway. Jones stuffed the attempt and Cook’s try at the rebound, but then Evans poked the puck under the goalie to tie the game.
Richard worked a pretty give-and-go on a 2 on 1 break with Denis Smirnov, with Richard easily poking the puck into an empty net as Petersen slid to block Smirnov.
Richard scored his second goal when the puck dropped in front of him as he skated through the crease after it was deflected high above the ice by Vince Pedrie to the side of the net with 1:52 left in the second period.
“Rocket was great,” Gadowsky said of the line of Richard, Smirnov and David Goodwin. “I thought all of them played really well. Goodwin was winning pucks and Smirnov was making great plays, and a huge game by Rocket obviously at a great time. They’re a very good team. They’re ranked third in the nation for a reason.”
Oglevie buried one into the top corner with a shot from the point to slice the lead back to one 39 seconds after Richard’s last goal. Then on a rush up the ice the Irish had a pretty passing combination that ended up with Gross flicking the puck into the net from the right circle with 7:32 left to tie it.
Along with penalties, faceoffs also were a trouble spot for Penn State, losing draws 37-20 to the Irish, but against the nation’s No. 3 team, it was a solid showing overall.
“I think we can take some positives,” Gadowsky said. “If we can stay out of the box, we can be pretty tough.”