For all of the substantial offensive pressure that the home side was able to create, it was diligent defensive work and a pivotal penalty kill that proved to be the difference as the improving Penn State Nittany Lions held off the visiting Bentley Falcons 3-2 in the first of a two-game NCAA non-conference set at the fabulous Pegula Ice Arena.
Surprisingly enough, Bentley got on the scoreboard first after defenseman Matt Maher, the 24-year-old senior from Avon, Connecticut, scored an unassisted power play goal on a screened shot from the point almost seven minutes into the opening period. But Penn State, who outshot their guests 18-8 in the first twenty minutes of play, responded relatively quickly when right wing Casey Bailey, the 22-year-old junior from Anchorage, Alaska, slammed home a rebound after a shot from Taylor Holstrom, the 24-year-old redshirt senior center from Yorba Linda, California, who leads the Nittany Lions with both eight assists and ten points this season, with just over six minutes before the first intermission. It was a third goal in as many games for Bailey, who now tops Penn State with five goals this season.
Canadian legionnaire Curtis Loik, the 21-year-old junior left wing from West Vancouver, British Columbia, put the hosts ahead for good by notching his third goal of this 2014/15 NCAA campaign by deflecting a point shot from his countryman, Patrick Koudys, the 21-year-old senior defenseman from Smithville, Ontario, who was the fifth round choice (# 147 overall) of the Washington Capitals at the 2011 National Hockey League Draft and is now the new Nittany Lions captain, with a little less than three minutes remaining in the first period; it was the second strike in as many games for Loik and his third goal of this new season, overall.
Just past the halfway point of the game, Penn State tallied what would prove to be a critical third goal when David Goodwin, the 22-year-old sophomore left wing from Des Peres, Missouri, who was the second-leading scorer for the Nittany Lions last term with 18 points (7 go) in 34 NCAA games, swiped home a centering pass from Holstrom to register his third goal this fall, as well.
Falcons goaltender Gabe Antoni, the 22-year-old junior from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, who had made exactly four appearances in his first two NCAA seasons for Bentley, gave a tremendous performance on his native soil and finished with 51 saves. Largely because of Antoni’s efforts, the visitors from New England were able to halve their deficit four minutes into the final frame after Canadian legionnaire Max French, the 22-year-old sophomore center from Westbank, British Columbia, netted the Falcons’ second power play goal of the contest. There would be no dramatic comeback, however.
Penn State conjured up with a clutch penalty kill after right wing Eric Scheid, the 22-year-old redshirt junior from Blaine, Minnesota, who led the Nittany Lions with both 11 goals and 20 points in 36 NCAA games last season, had been sent off for roughing the goaltender with just under eight minutes to play.
Penn State netminder Matthew Skoff, the 22-year-old homegrown junior from McKees Rocks who has started every one of his team’s seven games so far this season, continued his fine form between the pipes (1.96 avg, .930 svpct) and pushed his record this term to four wins against just one loss with two ties..
October 30, 2014
Pegula Ice Arena – State College, Pennsylvania
Attendance : 5,773
PENN STATE 3 – BENTLEY 2
06:40 … BEN – Maher (unassisted) – ppg
13:41 … PSU – Bailey (Holstrom, Goodwin)
17:03 … PSU – Loik (Koudys, Autio) – ppg
31:07 … PSU – Goodwin (Holstrom, Bailey)
43:53 … BEN – French (Weinstein, Blomquist) – ppg
shots-on-goal : PSU 54 ( 18 + 20 + 16 ) – BEN 26 ( 8 + 8 + 10 )
penalty minutes : PSU 8 – BEN 6
power plays : BEN 2/4 – PSU 1/3
PENN STATE : Skoff – Juha, Autio ; Koudys, Varley ; Jensen, Sweetland – Goodwin, Holstrom, Bailey ; Richard, Conway, Scheid ; Loik, Glen, Brooks ; DeRosa, Gardiner, Friedman
BENTLEY : Antoni – Weinstein, Blomquist ; Eiserman, Donners ; Buchanan, Maher – Switzer,Grieve, Schmidt ; McDonald, French, Gladiuk ; Deresky, Kubiak, Reardon ; Bacon, McMurphy, Suter