STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — David Glen recorded the first hat trick in Penn State D-I hockey history as the Nittany Lions (11-13-0) defeated the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers (3-18-1), 4-0, at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion Friday night.
Despite not having their best first period, the Nittany Lions did crack into the scoring first, a feat that has escaped Penn State’s grasp for much of the season. After a turnover by Alabama-Huntsville goalie John Griggs at the side of the net, Kenny Brooks backhanded a pass to Glen in the left circle. The freshman snapped it through Griggs immediately to give Penn State the 1-0 advantage at 1:41.
After a successful penalty kill with the 1-0 advantage, the Penn State power play went to work. Entering the game with just nine power-play goals all season, the Nittany Lions connected and, in the process, broke one of their newcomers out of a long slump. Mark Yanis found some space at the center point position and blasted a shot toward the goal. Gardiner positioned himself in front of Griggs and redirected the puck in to make it 2-0 at 15:31. Gardiner’s goal broke a 17-game NCAA goal-scoring drought. He last scored on Oct. 27 against Sacred Heart.
“It’s great to see Max (Gardiner) score; he’s been snake-bitten,” said Glen. “He’s been doing the little things. He was just due for one.”
Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky echoed the praise for the St. Louis Blues’ prospect.
“He does a great job in front getting stick on puck,” said Gadowsky. “It was fitting that he got it.”
At the other end of the ice, Matthew Skoff continued his stout goaltending, turning aside all seven offerings in period two, including a breakaway stick save on Doug Reid, who had just escaped the penalty box.
The chippy played of the second carried into the third period and culminated in 50 combined penalty minutes, most notably a scrum centered on a shot at Skoff’s mask long after a whistle. Gadowsky admits he does not like the rough play, but supported his team watching out for their goalie.
“We don’t want (to be rough) that way,” said Gadowsky. “But if it’s going to go that direction, we’re going to stand up for ourselves.”
Meanwhile, as the bitterness escalated, Glen returned to the goal department twice in short order just over halfway through the third. At 11:20, he found himself with his back to the net in the left circle. He cut toward the middle of the ice, spun, and beat Griggs short side to extend the lead to 3-0.
Just 3:30 later, Glen parked himself in the crease and shoveled home a Michael McDonagh rebound shot into the twine to complete the hat trick.
At the other end, Skoff turned aside the last of his 23 shots against to earn his second collegiate shutout.
Despite his team’s defeat, Chargers coach Kurt Kleinendorst liked his team’s pressure, but tipped his cap to the Nittany Lions netminder.
“We had some chances and we just got snuffed,” said Kleinendorst. “Skoff made some timely saves when they needed them.”
The lone two NCAA independent teams will clash once again on Saturday at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion at 7:30 p.m.