STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State’s last-ditch effort to tie the game and force overtime was stopped, as Massachusetts-Lowell beat the Nittany Lions, 3-2, for the second straight night.
Lowell struck first once again, as Penn State goalie Eamon McAdam kicked the puck behind the net only to see it pass him as Joe Gambardella scored his second goal of the season off a Derek Arnold pass at 4:26 of the opening period.
Penn State leveled the score at 10:25 of the first period with a power-play goal after a loose puck bounced off a River Hawks skate and past goalie Doug Carr. The goal was given to Eric Scheid, his fourth of the season.
It didn’t take long for Lowell to get back out in front. Just 53 seconds later, Stephen Buco scored his second after another rebound was left in the crease.
The River Hawks pulled further ahead when Adam Chapie scored a power-play goal at 17:50 of the first on yet another rebound left by McAdam. Chapie’s sixth goal of season later turned out to be the game-winner.
McAdam said he settled down after giving up all three of the River Hawks’ goals in the first 20 minutes. The freshman added that he is starting to feel more comfortable, despite visible shakiness in rebound control early on in the season.
“Goaltending is more of a mental battle then anything,” said the freshman, who finished the game with 41 saves. “You have to be able to turn on the switch and turn it off. Rebound control is kind of something where you build. You build as you get more comfortable at a level.”
The first 10 minutes of the second period went by without any scoring, but just seven seconds past the halfway mark, broken glass caused what Lowell coach Norm Bazin called, “a long delay.”
What was unusual was it was a fan in the student section that pointed out a crack behind the cage. With a blank side of poster board, he pulled out a marker and wrote, “Are we not fixing this?” Another fan with an arrow pointed at it while the rest of the section did what they could to get the attention of the officials.
Bazin thought the delay swung the momentum Penn State’s way.
“That was a challenge for us,” Bazin said “I thought we had some rhythm and then it shifted away and that’s just part of a game. You have to manage those momentum shifts. It was definitely not a luxury for us at the time.”
Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said that it got fun for the home team on the bench at that point, as the 6,158 fans inside the arena came to life. The third-year coach also said it was a great display of the new arena’s atmosphere.
Not much changed to the naked eye, as the second period ended without any goals and, just like in the first, Lowell outshot Penn State by just one, 17-16.
The third period had a lull from both sides, but picked up toward the end. At 12:17, Lowell turned the puck over in its own zone and Penn State freshman David Goodwin deked from forehand to backhand to slide it past a sprawling Carr with nobody covering Goodwin.
Goodwin joked to media afterward that it was the best pass he got all year.
Even with the extra attacker on in the final minute, the Nittany Lions still couldn’t find a to put the puck past Carr, who finished the game with 35 saves.
“It was a well-played hockey game out there,” Bazin said. “[Penn State] gave us all we could handle out there tonight. We’re pleased to come away with some points.”