STATE COLLEGE – If Penn State was going to gain anything besides two points Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena, it was evidence of whether or not Guy Gadowsky's club is resilient, and willing to answer the bell after a loss.
Penn State made mistakes like it did in a 4-0 loss Thursday to visiting UMass Lowell, but they weren't of the death knell variety. While the Lions, starting Eamon McAdam in net instead of Matthew Skoff, again struggled to contain rebounds, it only last for 20 minutes Friday night instead of 60. They took penalties, but none were of the blatantly bad variety. And they lost, but it wasn't a morale killing tumble like it was Thursday night.
Three different Riverhawks scored, and Adam Chapie notched the game-winner with a first period power play goal, as UMass Lowell skated away with a 3-2 victory.
We're trying to get better. I hate saying this, but the coaching staff looks at this as a bit of a positive," Gadowsky said. "It's not necessarily a moral victory, but you're certainly not going to judge our season by wins and losses. Of course, you never want to lose two in a row.
"But you look at the difference in how we played in areas we can control from yesterday to today, and it's night and day. I look at this as a positive."
First period woes: Penn state captain Tommy Olczyk said afterward he was pleased with the final 30 minutes of play, and he had good reason to be.
The Lions (3-5-1) played a much more even game with the Riverhawks following a 15 minute delay to repair a broken pane of glass near the 10 minute mark of the second. But it didn't negate an unimpressive first period where the Lions surrendered three goals.
UMass Lowell scored first for the second straight night, capitalizing on an odd-man rush when Joe Gambardella pounded a wrister by McAdam, who kicked two pucks away prior to the goal. Penn State would tie it six minutes later when Eric Scheid jammed a loose puck past Riverhawks netminder Doug Carr (35 saves) after it took an awkward bounce off the backboard following a Luke Juha rip from the point, but the ice titled the way of the visitors for the final 10 minutes of the period.
It started with Stephen Buco's second goal of the weekend on a play eerily similar to how Penn State scored it goal to put UML back on top, and ended when Chapie scored his sixth goal of the season with the visitors skating with the man advantage to swell their lead to 3-1.
"I thought I improved as I went along," McAdam said. "I knew we needed to shut it down after the shaky first goal going into the second and third, and I guess we made it happen."
Play of the Game: Pegula was lacking life for much of the third, as time and time again the hosts entered the zone without challenging Carr. But that all changed when Goodwin received what he called the best pass of the year.
It didn't come courtesy of a teammate, but rather a Riverhawks defenseman, who cleared the puck right up the middle to a waiting Goodwin, who preceded to beat Carr one-on-one with a nifty deke before sliding it behind the UML netminder at the 12:17 mark of the third.
Penn State wouldn't score again, but it provided an element of life to the arena that had been missing, and made the final eight minutes and change matter.
1. F Adam Chapie, UMass Lowell: It was a three point weekend for Chapie, who scored twice and also notched an assist with a helper on Bucco's second period goal. The forward was arguably the best Riverhawk on the ice, finishing with a goal, assist, and two shots Friday night.
2. G Doug Carr, UMass Lowell: Carr was forced to face more high opportunity chances than Connor Hellebuyck was Thursday night, and he responded well, only allowing two goals that it would be difficult to blame him for. The senior improved to 4-1 on the year, making 35 saves in the process.
3. F David Goodwin, Penn State: Hardly anyone stood out over the first 40 minutes of play for the Lions, but Goodwin did in the third, registering a pair of shots including the one that gave Penn State life. The tally was Goodwin's third of the season.
Looking Ahead: A two week break awaits Penn State before Union comes to town for a pair of skates Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at Pegula.
It's a needed one, as a few Lions are ailing. Defenseman Nate Jensen left Friday's game in the first period after blocking a shot, and did not return. Gadowsky called it a lower body injury, adding he didn't expect the State redshirt junior to miss much or any time. The same can't be said for winger Max Gardiner, who left Thursday's game with an upper-body injury early, did not return, and missed Friday's game as well. Gadowsky said he thought it may be long term, but will be further evaluated.
Quote of the Night: Asked about what his team learned after the weekend, Gadowsky said:
"I think when we talk about, I think what we did tonight was we matched at least, playing unit against unit, we didn't beat ourselves. We didn't make blatant mistakes, and we didn't go out and miss backchecks. I think we played as a unit every shift, or a whole lot more consistently than we did last night. I feel [UMass Lowell] is an excellent team, and their strength is their team framework. I think we learned a lesson, I thought our team work was night and day from where it was last night. That was definitely a good step for us.
• Unlike Thursday, UML outshot Penn State Friday by a 44-37 count. The Lions' didn't win any period on the shots toteboard, but came close in the second, where they were outshot 17-16.
• One of the glass panes behind the net in the west end of the arena partially shattered in the second, leading to a lengthy delay. But Gadowsky saw it as a positive, pointing to the in-arena entertainment to fill the time. And it may have been an added boon for his team, as Riverhawks had coach Norm Bazin said he felt the momentum shifted from his team to Penn State during the time-out.
• Penn State was much better in the penalty department, only allowing the visitors to skate five times with the man advantage. It was part not taking "stupid penalties" as Gadowsky coined it, but also drawing penalties to force 5-on-4 situations. State skates twice with the man advantage.
• McAdam finished with 41 saves, making 10 stops in the first, 17 in the second, and 14 in the third.