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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Cruise To 5-0 Exhibition Victory

on October 06, 2019 4:00 PM

In the grand scheme of Penn State hockey's season, a game that doesn't count played before all of the games that do is of minimal consequence.

Mistakes, that's knocking off the rust. Good play, well you aren't taking on Notre Dame just yet so don't get too excited. Scrimmages are largely about getting out in front of a team that isn't you and warming up your body and mind to the idea that the season is only a few days away.

All the same Penn State looked like the team on the way towards what it wants to become, the Nittany Lions beating Ottawa 5-0 in a Sunday afternoon exhibition that included a 25-save shutout by the tandem of Peyton Jones and Osakar Autio along with a solid offensive performance across several lines. The former with a handful of high-quality saves during his time on the ice.

“I’m sure the goalies got some good confidence out of this one,” captain Brandon Biro said. “Being better defensively is something we were taking a huge focus on this year. To come out and get a shutout in the first game and work out some of the kinks is something that’s going to give us a ton of confidence going forward.”

Penn State's top line of Evan Barratt, Alex Limoges and Liam Folkes were fast and confident, Barratt scoring the third goal of the game just 48 seconds into the second period. Evan Bell scoring the first 5:22 into regulation followed by Biro a few minutes later.

At the game's midway point the Nittany Lions' top line and defensive pairing of Cole Hults and Paul DeNaples headed down the tunnel for some rest. For a team that had picked up injuries in previous exhibition games, there was no reason to risk it with the talented group, not to mention little that group needed to prove after leading the nation in points in 2018.

Bell scored again just two minutes after Barratt's second period tally and Max Sauve added another early in the third period.

Exhibition games can be ugly and sloppy, occasionally pointless and difficult to watch. All the same, they are games, played with pride and purpose on the line. Defending national champs Minnesota-Duluth lost its exhibition game to Alberta on Saturday, and while Duluth is no less a title contender because of it, you practice how you want to perform.

So sure, Penn State's 5-0 win doesn't count, and doesn't really matter, but there are worse things than taking the ice for the first time in months to play a game, and looking as though the preseason hype wasn't a mistake.

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