Penn State Hockey

Penn State hockey: Nittany Lions falter late in loss to Alaska

For the second night in a row, the Penn State men’s hockey team saw a third-period disappear in the closing minutes.

Austin Vieth scored two goals in a 27-second span, with the second the game-winner in a 4-3 win for No. 19 Alaska in the final game of the Brice Alaska Goal Rush on Saturday night at the Carlson Center.

Eric Scheid, Connor Varley and Max Gardiner netted the goals for the Nittany Lions (1-1-2), who suffered their first loss of the season. Goalie Matt Skoff finished with 29 saves.

On Friday night, the Lions held a 3-1 lead on Alaska Anchorage only to see two late goals leave the contest tied.

Taylor Munson and Nolan Huysmans had the other Nanook goals, with Sean Cahill making 40 saves for the win.

Gardiner had given Penn State the lead late in the second period, lifting the puck over Cahill late in a five-minute power play for the Nittany Lions. Penn State had peppered Cahill with eight shots on goal during the sequence.

Penn State clinged to the lead through most of the third until alte. Vieth ripped a blast bast Skoff that tied it with 5:57 left.

The Nittany Lions looked to be on the verge to tie it with a flurry at the other end, but when the puck jumped over a Lion’s stick, and a 2 on 1 break ensued and Vieth completed the break with the game-winner with 5:30 left.

It would have been appropriate if Penn State had netted a response goal, since it happened after the first two Nanook goals.

Munson knocked home a rebound early in the first period, and Scheid had his own rebound goal 33 seconds later.

Early in the second period, Tyler Morley set up Huysmans for an Alaska score, but Varley unleashed a blast from the blue line 1:08 later tied it again.

Morley then leveled a vicious hit on Casey Bailey from behind later in the second period, giving the Nittany Lions a five-minute major, and the Nittany Lions were able to cash in with 32 seconds left on the power play.

It was Gardiner’s first goal since February of 2013 against Alabama Huntsville.

Penn State finished 1 for 3 with a man advantage and outshot the Nanooks 43-33.

Notes: The Nittany Lions return home next weekend, facing Holy Cross at Pegula Ice Arena at 7 p.m. Friday and at noon Sunday. ... Missing from the lineup Saturday were forward Taylor Holstrom with an upper body injury, and defenseman David Thompson, who was stepped on in the midsection during a scramble in front of the net Friday. Thompson received 20 stitches at a nearby hospital after the game. ... Alaska had not allowed more than 21 shots by an opponent in each of its first three games of the season.

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