UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State men’s hockey team scored a program record five goals in the second period on their way to handing the UConn Huskies a 7-1 loss Saturday afternoon in the series finale at Pegula Ice Arena. The Huskies open the season at 0-1-1 with the loss on Saturday.
Penn State’s Taylor Holstrom finished with two goals and an assist, all in the second period, while Matthew Skoff turned away 28 shots to get the win. The Nittany Lions held a 42-28 edge on shots.
The Huskies got an early power play chance that turned into a five-on-three opportunity when Connor Varley was called for a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind at 4:23. UConn got eight shots on net during the power play but couldn’t crack Skoff. Senior Ryan Tyson (Harleysville, Pa.) clanged the post just before the Nittany Lions returned to full strength.
Penn State built off the momentum of solid special teams play, grabbing a 1-0 lead at 13:24. Junior defenseman Luke Juha forced an UConn turnover deep in the left corner with the deflection collected by classmate David Glen in front of Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas). Glen buried it top-shelf for his first of the year and a one-goal lead.
The Huskies nearly had the tying goal with 5:45 left when junior Patrick Kirtland (Rocky Hill, Conn.) drilled the cross bar off a nifty centering pass from senior Jacob Poe (Arlington, Texas). UConn finished the period with a 14-12 edge on shots.
The second period was all Penn State, as the Nittany Lions put five goals on the scoreboard, one shorthanded and another on the power play to take a commanding 6-1 lead. PSU wasted little time in taking control, scoring just 43 seconds into the period. R-Junior Eric Scheid buried a long rebound past Nichols top-shelf, glove side.
Holstrom scored twice in the period, the first coming at 4:10 to give the Nittany Lions a 3-0 lead. With the Huskies on a power play, sophomore Dylan Richard picked off an errant UConn pass on the blue line and fed a streaking Holstrom who carried in and went top-left for his first of the season.
UConn cut into the lead at 6:02 as freshman Spencer Naas (Minnetonka, Minn.) picked up his first career goal. Sophomore Ryan Segalla (Rockland, Mass.) drove the puck deep, feeding it toward net where Tyson got a stick on it before Naas stuffed it home to pull within 3-1.
From there it was all Penn State as Holstrom buried his second at 13:01 with a wicked wrister from the top-right circle. Just 26 seconds later, Holstrom set up David Goodwin for his second of the season, chasing Nichols from the game down 5-1 at 13:27. Senior Tom Comunale (Seven Fields, Pa.) took over, playing the first minutes in goal of his career. The Nittany Lions tacked on their sixth goal at 18:52 on the power play with Jonathan Milley burying a feed from Goodwin at the left post.
The five goals scored in the second period set a new program record for the Nittany Lions. The five goals given up by Nichols before being pulled marked a career-high mark for goals allowed by the sophomore netminder. Nichols finished with 18 saves.
Penn State made it 7-1 in the third period with 3:33 left to play as Bailey blasted a shot past Comunale from the left circle.
UConn will be back on the ice next Saturday night, October 18th when they make program history playing their first official Hockey East contest. The Huskies will head to Merrimack for a 7 pm face-off from Lawler Arena.
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