Liam Folkes recorded a hat trick in under two periods and Penn State rolled Merrimack 7-0 on the road Friday night. The Nittany Lions will head to UMass-Lowell on Saturday for a rare two-teams-in-two-nights weekend.
Penn State opened the scoring and never looked back, Folkes scoring twice in the opening period to put the Nittany Lions ahead in a lopsided affair on the ice as much as the scoreboard. Folkes scored again in early stages of the second period to put the visitors ahead by three in the first meeting between the two programs.
Senior defenseman Kris Myllari put Penn State ahead by even more later in the period as the Nittany Lions continued to impose their will. Evan Barratt would add a goal nearly a minute later to make the margin 5-0.
The shutout victory by goalie Oskar Autio was the first of his collegiate career and the first victory as well, but he was fairly dormant most of the night, making just 16 saves in the effort. On the other end of the ice Penn State managed 39 shots on goal, outshooting the hosts 15-3 in the first period and never allowing more than seven pucks to get to Autio in a single period.
Denis Smirnov added another in the third and Barratt picked up his fourth point of the night assisting on an Alex Stevens' goal in the game's final minutes on a man advantage.
Saturday night's contest against No. 15 ranked UMass-Lowell ought to prove a stiffer test, but as the Nittany Lions improve to 11-3-0 on the year as not much has stood in their way so far.
While not yet announced, usual goaltender Peyton Jones is likely slated for the start.