It’s good to be home.
In the first game at Pegula Ice Arena since Dec. 2, the Penn State men’s hockey team got the offense rolling again Friday night, burying Michigan State 5-2.
Chase Berger, Vince Pedrie and David Goodwin each had a goal and an assist for the No. 4 Nittany Lions (15-2-1, 4-1 Big Ten), who drew 6,152 for the program’s 50th consecutive sellout.
“I think we were there in terms of effort and wanting to do it,” coach Guy Gadowsky said. “But we weren’t there with situational hockey. We made some poor decisions that we hadn’t seen a lot of the first half of the year.”
Liam Folkes and Andrew Sturtz also scored, and Peyton Jones made 24 saves as the Lions outshot the Spartans 46-26.
Zach Osburn and Joe Cox had the goals for the Spartans (4-14-1, 0-5). Ed Minney made 41 saves in the loss.
Freshman Brett Murray made his season debut. Enrolling for the spring semester and joining the team during the holiday break, the 6-foot-5 forward and Buffalo Sabres draft pick shook off the early jitters.
“Definitely had some nervousness,” Murray said, “but I think the guys in the room were helping me out, calming me down.”
Gadowsky thought his newest Lion found his game.
“It’s a really tough position to put him in,” Gadowsky said. “He’s a big guy, he handles himself extremely (well). He skates well. I remember my first college game. Things are flying. He handled it a lot better than I did and he’s in a much tougher situation, being put into it ... midseason.”
Osburn opened the scoring on a power play a mere 1:52 into the game, picking a spot over Jones’ shoulder.
“It was a good start,” Michigan State coach Tom Anastos said. “We need to find some confidence and our power play’s been moving the puck around pretty good.”
Conversely, the Lions were not happy taking a penalty and allowing a goal in the first two minutes.
“After they scored I don’t think the guys panicked,” Gadowsky said. “They just got back to chipping away.”
Berger tied the game, deflecting a bouncing puck from Goodwin’s attempt.
“It’s kind of a reaction,” Berger said. “And we work on stuff like that all the time in practice, whether it’s tips or on the power play.”
Pedrie put the Nittany Lions up later in the first, firing the puck from the point through a maze of bodies, and Folkes scored in the second period, somehow finding the far corner of the net shooting from the corner of the ice near goal line.
“I was very surprised,” said Murray, who set up the score for his first collegiate point. “I turned around and saw the puck in the net and just happy.”
Cox added the other Spartans score on a shorthanded breakaway.
Sturtz barely got the puck across the goal line for his team-leading 14th goal of the season in the third, and Goodwin hit the net from the wall to close the scoring.
“Playing in front of the home crowd, having that support behind you no matter what,” Murray said, “it kind of gives you a little boost of confidence, makes you play a little bit harder.”
Notes: The teams finish the two-game series at 7 p.m. Saturday. … Earlier in the day, captain David Goodwin was named one of 15 student-athletes nominated for the Senior CLASS Award, for being a strong student and leader. Last year’s captain, David Glen, won in a season ago. ... Penn State was 0 for 3 on the power play, and Michigan State was 1 for 3.