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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Defeat United States Under-18 Team, 5-2

by on January 11, 2013 7:54 PM

Recap: Penn State 5, USA U18 Team 2

Player of The Game: Penn State goaltender Matthew Skoff made 47 saves and was a brick wall for the back of the Nittany Lions' defense. One save late in the second period kept the game tied, and several throughout the game kept the Nittany Lions in the lead or prevented the United States from extending its lead.

Stat of The Game: The Nittany Lions' victory marked only the second time Penn State has won a game after giving up the opening goal. Penn State also accomplished that feat in a 5-4 victory over Ohio State at the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh.

Turning Point: Only a few feet in front of the United States crease, Nittany Lions captain Tommy Olczyk flipped a rebound over goaltender Thatcher Demko's glove and into the back of the net with 6:43 to go in the game. A 4-2 score was too much, and an empty net goal sealed the deal.

What it Means: Penn State's victory marks the first over a United State national team affiliate and a victory over a team that knocked off a talented Michigan squad and tied No. 4 Minnesota.

On Deck: Penn State and the Unites States resume their weekend series 7:30 Saturday night at Greenberg Ice Pavilion.

Second Intermission Update: Penn State 2, U-18 2

A period full of hits and goals could have been confused for a regular season game in the first of two games between the United States Under-18 team and Penn State. The United States scored its second of the game just over 30 seconds into the period. Penn State quickly responded as George Saad notched his first of the year — although stats in exhibition games do not count in season totals — with 17:32 to go in the second period.

Penn State's Kenny Brooks made it 2-2 with 9:25 left in the second period, punching in a rebound during a Penn State 5-on-3. The Nittany Lions controlled the majority of the pace of play and registered 14 shots to the United States' 17. Nittany Lions goaltender Matthew Skoff made a save with his outstretched leg with only a few minutes left in the period, preserving the tie and sending the Greenberg Ice Pavilion crowd into a frenzy. Skoff made 33 saves through 40 minutes of play.

Eight penalties were called in the second period, as the title of "exhibition game" became only a formality. 

First Intermission Update: U-18 1, Penn State 0

Penn State got only five shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes as the Nittany Lions took on the United States Under-18 National Team on Friday night.

The Under-18 squad opened the game aggressively and Tyler Motte punched in a rebound into a wide open net nine minutes into the opening period. Penn State responded for the remainder of the period, matching the United States' physical play. United States goaltender Thatcher Demko made five saves, several feet from the net.

Despite the shooting deficit, Penn State played a strong final 10 minutes. Following a loss to ACHA opponent Arizona State in an early season exhibition, coach Guy Gadowsky said that he felt his team wasn't into the game. Tonight's action — the first exhibition since that loss — does not lack for energy or intensity.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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