The Penn State men's hockey team added another milestone to its impressive inaugural NCAA Division I season, splitting the weekend series with Michigan State while grabbing the program's first win at a future conference foe's barn.
Freshman Casey Bailey scored and added an assist on Saturday, leaving him with a team-high 23 points.
Friday night saw the Spartans and Nittany Lions deadlocked at three goals apeice after two periods but Michigan State eventually took the lead before adding an empty net goal to win the game 5-3.
Freshman Matt Skoff, who started both contests for Penn State, stopped 27 shots in the loss. Captain Tommy Olczyk, freshman David Glen and Mercyhurst transfer Taylor Holstrom all scored for the Lions.
With no real time to think about what could have been, the teams faced off less than 24 hours later, this time on the Big Ten Network, for Penn State's first televised game on the conference's channel.
Skoff didn't start the game particularly well, giving up two relatively weak goals in the first period - each one getting through on the glove side.
“The fans give it to you for sure, I know they scored two quick goals obviously, I thought I hung in there pretty well, I kept telling myself we were going to put in goals,” said Skoff after the game. “Luckily the team put it in for me, so it was a good win for the team and a good win for the program.”
Freshman Michigan native Mark Yanis opened the Lions’ scoring during the second, with a powerplay goal just 32 seconds into the period. Classmate Casey Bailey got the assist, extending his point streak to seven games.
Bailey also added a goal over three minutes into the third period, and sophomore Taylor Holstrom notched the game-winner with 4:01 left in the game to put the Lions ahead. Sophomore Max Gardiner led the team in points, dishing out assists on all three goals.
The freshman keeper, whose record stands at 6-8 on the year, stopped every Spartan shot after giving up the second tally, making 31 saves on the night.
“I think the guys were very proud of Dom Morrone particularly and Skoffer, I think he had a very shaky start, he came back really strong,” said head coach Guy Gadowsky after the game. “Thats a big win for us, its a lot of fun, great place to play, I have to tell you at the start of the year I wouldn’t have ever expected this.”
Penn State outshot Michigan State 50-33 on the night, and improved to 10-13 on the year, while Michigan State dropped to 7-16-3 in what is definitely a down year for the Spartans.
“I give the guys a lot of credit. They’ve surprised us a number of times,” admitted Gadowsky. “I thought Max Gardiner was great, his line with Holstrom and Casey Bailey, everybody played really well. Max Gardiner going hard to the net; he had three points on the night.”
Penn State will play two home games against ACHA Division I club team Ohio University this week. The Lions and Bobcats will meet Friday night at the Giant Center in Hershey before coming back to State College to play at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion on Saturday.