Oct. 11, 2013
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Army hockey team lifted the lid on 2013-14 with a 4-1 setback at Penn State in what was a historic season opener for both teams. The game was the first played in the new Pegula Ice Arena and entertained a standing-room-only crowd of 6,370 spectators. Penn State alumnus and Buffalo Sabres owner, Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim, donated $88 million to build the state-of-the-art facility.
The Black Knights surrendered just a single goal through two periods, but let the third get away as the Nittany Lions scored three additional goals to put the game away. Junior alternate captain Mac Lalor broke the Black Knights into the scoring column with under 5:00 to play in the game, but the damage was already done as the Nittany Lions had already taken a 3-0 lead.
Penn State outshot Army, 35-26, but the Black Knights’ Achilles heel proved to be the power play, which went 1-for-10 on the night to include a pair of 5-on-3 chances.
“This was an unbelievable experience for our team,” said head coach Brian Riley, who began his 10th season at the helm Friday night. “Give all the credit in the world to Penn State for putting on this first-class night. We’re very appreciative of the patience and understanding they showed all week as well.
“We certainly need some work on the power play,” he continued. “Any time you get 10 power plays, you need to cash in on more than one. Most of the credit for that goes to Penn State’s effort in limiting our opportunities.”
Army starting goaltender Rob Tadazak made 31 saves, 27 of which came in the final 40 minutes. Penn State’s Matthew Skoff made 25 saves to earn the win.
Penn State drew first blood early as Nate Jensen beat Tadazak high just 3:02 into the first period. The Black Knights, meanwhile, could not find the back of the net despite three power play chances in the opening session. The early goal stood as Army entered the intermission facing a 1-0 deficit.
A scoreless second period for both teams saw the Black Knights have three power play chances. The final included a 5-on-3 opportunity with 1:32 remaining in the frame, a key stretch during which the Black Knights could not cash in.
The Nittany Lions stretched their lead to 2-0 with a Curtis Loik goal in the early stages of the third period. The sophomore netted the goal short-handed as he broke away at the blue line and launched the shot past Tadazak 3:24 into the action. Penn State tacked on an insurance goal at 12:05, as rookie David Goodwin tallied his first collegiate goal. The Black Knights’ lone goal of the night came as Lalor cashed in at 15:39 during his team’s second 5-on-3 chance of the night. Sophomore Willie Faust and sophomore Jonathan Gehrt scored their first points of the season on the assists.
The Nittany Lions added a fourth goal on Army’s empty net with under 1:00 remaining.
Army is idle until visiting Merrimack for a non-conference tilt set for Saturday, Oct. 26, in North Andover, Mass. The Black Knights open the home portion of their schedule on Saturday, Nov. 2, opposite Atlantic Hockey Association foe Connecticut.
Fourteen games are scheduled to be played at Tate Rink this season, highlighted by Atlantic Hockey Association matchups against service-academy rival Air Force, Bentley, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart, Canisius, Mercyhurst, American International and Connecticut. Lauded as one of the top venues in the region, the Black Knights played in front of six sellout crowds a year ago.
To order your tickets, visit www.goARMYsports.com/tickets, call 1-877-TIX-ARMY or stop by the Army Ticket Office located at Gate 3 of Michie Stadium. Visit goARMYsports.com/tickets for more information.
Game Notes: Army and Penn State have met four times in series history … Army only plays two games in October and both are on the road … Terry Pegula participated in a ceremonial puck drop to highlight a multitude of pregame activities … Brian Schultz, who represented Army for the ceremonial puck drop, Maurice Alvarez, Zak Zaremba, Jonathan Gehrt, Mac Lalor and Rob Tadazak earned the season-opening start … Army donned its black sweaters with ARMY splashed across the chest.
PENN STATE 4, ARMY 1
PSU - Jensen (Holstrom), 3:02
PSU - Loik (Goodwin), 3:24
PSU – Goodwin (Saar), 12:05
ARMY – Lalor (Faust, Gehrt), 15:39
PSU – Schneid (Glen), 19:35 (empty net)
Shots: Penn State 35 (5-14-16); Army 26 (7-12-7)
Saves: Penn State 25 (Skoff, 60:00, 7-12-6); Army 31 (Tadazak, 59:28, 4-14-13; empty net, 00:32)
Power Plays: Penn State 0-3; Army, 1-10
Penalties: Penn State, 11-33; Army, 3-6