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Penn State Hockey: No. 10 Nittany Lions Crush Arizona State

by on November 19, 2016 6:27 PM

Fresh off a 7-4 win Friday night against Arizona State, No. 10 Penn State (11-1-1) was back in Pegula Ice Arena Saturday afternoon searching for its fourth series sweep in a row. The Nittany Lions came out on fire, crushing the Sun Devils 8-0 to set a new program-record home unbeaten streak of eight straight games. They also matched a school-high with eight goals in a single game.

How It Happened

Guy Gadowsky went with sophomore netminder Chris Funkey as his starter, while the Sun Devils tabbed senior Robert Levin, who wasn’t one of two goaltenders to see time yesterday. Sophomore forward Alec Marsh wasn’t in the lineup after scoring a Penn State goal just before the final whistle Friday night. The Nittany Lions entered the series finale tied with Ohio State for the top team offense in all of college hockey (4.5 goals per game), and they certainly backed it up.

Dylan Richard provided the game’s first fireworks just over nine minutes in, finishing off the assist from freshman Denis Smirnov to give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead. Following his first career hat trick Friday, Smirnov is now tied for third in the nation with 21 points. Chase Berger would follow suit shortly thereafter with a goal of his own.

Freshman Nate Sucese joined the party a little over a minute later, cleaning up a loose puck for his eighth goal of the season to give Penn State an early 3-0 cushion. Vince Pedrie got in on the festivities, as the Rochester, Minn., native tallied his fifth goal of the young season. After four goals in a 4:09 span for the Nittany Lions, defenseman Kevin Kerr made it 5-0 with just over three minutes left in the first period — a score they would ride into the first intermission.

Freshman forward Liam Folkes broke the second-period scoring drought with 4:15 to go before the break, marking the first collegiate goal for the Scarborough, Ontario, standout. While it wasn’t a siren bonanza like the first 20 minutes, Penn State headed into the second intermission with a 6-0 lead over coach Greg Powers’ Sun Devils.

Freshman Nikita Pavlychev put his 6-foot-7 frame to good use on his third goal of the season with just over eight minutes to play. Smirnov would net his fourth goal of the series down the stretch to help Penn State to a final score of 8-0.

Player Of The Game

Chris Funkey | Sophomore | Goalie

He wasn’t called upon often, but Funkey delivered between the pipes. He finished with 18 saves to give Penn State its second shutout of the season and his first as a Nittany Lion. He earned the third star for his effort.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions have a chance to rest up before opening Big Ten play at home against No. 16 Michigan on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m. The heated rivalry will be televised on ESPNU.


Ethan Kasales is a Lemont native and staff writer for Onward State.
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