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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Beat Robert Morris 7-4

by on December 09, 2017 10:20 PM

Penn State hockey has done just about everything in the first half of the season. It was won on the road at places it has struggled in the past. It has lost to opponents that it has beaten in the past. It has been a team full of injuries and a team healthy for brief moments in time.

But all that really matters now is that the Nittany Lions are hot. Eight straight games unbeaten after an up and down opening third of the season sends the Nittany Lions into nearly a month-long break before the final half of the year.

On Saturday night a 7-4 victory over Robert Morris capped off a chaotic first half of the season, Penn State sitting at 11-7-2 on the year on the right side of the cut-line in the PairWise rankings.

Of course it wasn't that easy, Robert Morris scoring 27 seconds into regulation to put the Colonials ahead right off the bat. A fairly even period in terms of shots gave the Nittany Lions all they could handle, but Robert Morris had no answer for Denis Smirnov who scored twice in the period and Nate Sucese capped off an explosive period to put Penn State up 3-1. A shorthanded goal cut it back to a 3-2 margin with eight seconds in the period.

Penn State continued on in a somewhat lethargic second period but Trevor Hamilton put the Nittany Lions ahead 4-2 before RMU once again cut it to a single goal in the final minute period. 

The third was more of the same, Robert Morris cutting into Penn State's lead, the Nittany Lions answering with goals of their own. By the end of the night Chase Berger's empty-net tally made it 7-4 and sent Penn State home with an 11-7-2 record and into the break having found a groove.

On the night Peyton Jones made 33 saves while the Nittany Lions ripped 44 shots on net. Penn State finished the evening 4-of-8 on the man advantage. 

Penn State will now wait nearly a month before facing Wisconsin on January 5th in State College as the Nittany Lions play eight of their final 14 games at home, 10 of those games airing on TV.

But for now, a team plagued with injuries rests, and waits to see if growing postseason hopes are as real as they seem in early December.

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