No. 7 Penn State (11-4-0, 6-2-0 Big Ten) ended its weekend trip to Massachusetts with a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss against No. 15 UMass-Lowell (9-3-4, 4-1-3 Hockey East).
Evan Barratt and Nate Sucese were the only goal-scorers for the Nittany Lions in the loss in which Penn State outshot UMass-Lowell 36-18 as a team.
Peyton Jones managed to save 15-of-18 shots he faced though his team did not help him as much as it could have, and a costly penalty in overtime set the River Hawks up for the win.
How It Happened
Saturday’s game got off to a sluggish start offensively, as it took nearly the full first period for either team to find the back of the net.
Despite a pair of power play chances in the first period for the Nittany Lions, the River Hawks struck first on a shot through traffic from the point that beat Peyton Jones to take a 1-0 lead with 1:46 left in the period.
Penn State entered the first intermission trailing by a goal, but it held a 13-8 advantage in shots through the first 20 minutes.
Penn State finally got itself on the board following a pair of coincidental minors early in the second period that sent both Paul DeNaples and a River Hawk to the box. With plenty of space on the ice during the 4-on-4, Evan Barratt found prime real estate in front of the net and converted it into an equalizing goal at 3:27 in the second period.
UMass-Lowell answered almost immediately after the 4-on-4 ended to retake its one goal lead, making it 2-1 with 14:44 left on the clock in the second.
Penn State fought through the rest of the second period and almost all of the third period to even the score to no avail. When all hope seemed lost, the Nittany Lions caught a huge break in the form of a boarding penalty on UMass-Lowell with 1:38 left in the game.
Peyton Jones skated to the bench to give the Nittany Lions an extra skater on the power play in the final minutes, and Nate Sucese rose to the occasion.
Sucese managed to tip a puck in the net, though it was not initially called a goal on the ice. After further review, he was awarded the game-tying goal with 23 seconds left in regulation.
The teams entered the sudden death overtime period tied 2-2, but only one could prevail.
UMass-Lowell was the benefactor of the major break in the extra period, as Clayton Phillips got caught holding to send the River Hawks on the power play 1:50 into overtime.
UMass-Lowell was 0-for-3 on the power play to that point, but it capitalized on the only opportunity that mattered. At 2:43 in the overtime period, Chase Blackmun buried a shot from the slot to win it for the River Hawks in overtime.
- Penn State’s power play unit did not answer the call tonight. Guy Gadowsky’s special teams unit entered tonight’s game leading the country with a 34.6% conversion rate on the man-advantage, but it only scored on one of the six chances UMass-Lowell served it on a silver platter.
- There’s no reason to sound the alarms after this loss. In one million possible realities where the Nittany Lions double their opponent’s shot count and have six power play chances, this is the only one where they lose. That’s just the way the puck bounced tonight.
- Tip your cap to UMass-Lowell’s goaltender, Tyler Wall. Stopping 34-of-36 shots from the Nittany Lions is no small feat, and the senior netminder deserves all the credit in the world for the River Hawks’ win.
The Nittany Lions are on the road again next weekend, as they travel to Ann Arbor for a two-game series against Big Ten foe Michigan. The puck drops at 8:30 p.m. for the first matchup on Friday, December 6, which fans can watch live on FS1.