Harvey Levine/FOS

Penn State Trounces Union For First NCAA Tournament Win

The high-scoring Nittany Lions looked right at home in their NCAA tourney debut, beating the 2014 national champion 10-3 in a Midwest Regional semifinal in Cincinnati.

The 2016-17 campaign has been a season of firsts for the Penn State hockey program.

In only their fifth year at the Division I level, the Nittany Lions climbed to No. 1 in the national rankings for the first time back in January. Then, after a bit of a late-season swoon, Guy Gadowsky’s club won its first Big Ten Tournament title earlier this month.

That helped PSU earn the first NCAA Tournament bid in school history, and the third-seeded Nittany Lions opened NCAA play against second-seeded Union (N.Y.) in a Midwest Regional semifinal at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati Saturday. http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1765860-penn-stat...

You can now add first NCAA Tournament win to that impressive resume. Penn State’s high octane offense was too much for the Dutchmen (25-10-3) to handle and the Lions (25-11-2) came away with a 10-3 victory. And while you're at it, add the first 10-goal performance in program history. It marked the first time in 27 years a team scored 10 goals in an NCAA game.

Sophomore forward Chase Berger paced PSU with a pair of goals and an assist. 

The Nittany Lions were anything but intimidated in their first NCAA Tournament appearance, as Berger assisted on one goal (to Brandon Biro for the initial NCAA goal in PSU history) and scored another himself in the first period.

But the Dutchmen — the 2014 national champs — responded quickly both times, getting tallies from Brendan Taylor and Spencer Foo. Foo’s goal came 24 seconds after Berger found the net and tied it 2-2.

Penn State took just over a minute into the second period to break the tie, pressuring Union goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos with a barrage of action before Kris Myllari beat the netminder with a one-timer from just inside the blue line.

But again Union responded. On a power play midway through the period, the Dutchmen cycled the puck to the right corner before sliding a pass to Foo on the doorstep on the left side. PSU goalie Peyton Jones had no chance of stopping it and the score was 3-3.

A few minutes later, Berger was at it again. He cleanly beat Sakellaropoulos to the open right side of the net. The play was reviewed, as the net was knocked off its pegs just as Berger was shooting. But it was obvious the goalie had kicked the net loose and the goal stood for a 4-3 PSU lead.

Less than five minutes later, Sakellaropoulos turned away another heavy shot by Myllari. But Dylan Richard was there for the rebound and easy stick-back goal for a 5-3 lead. 

It seemed to be a good sign as PSU was 14-0 on the season when it scored five or more goals in a game.

The Nittany Lions had a penalty kill late in the second period to carry the two-goal edge into the third.

Early in the third, PSU’s Nate Goodwin worked his way through the Dutchmen defense and fired a shot on goal. Sakellaropoulos blocked it toward the other side of the ice — and right to Lion Nate Sucese. Sucese found the net and State led 6-3.

Less than five minutes later, PSU’s Denis Smirnov scored off a turnover to make it 7-3. That prompted Union to pull Sakellaropoulos, a senior. It made no difference. Less than two minutes later, Lion Nikita Pavlychev beat Dutchman backup goalie Jake Kupsky on a power play to make it 8-3. 

Andrew Sturtz tacked on a shorthanded goal to make it 9-3. And then Sucese scored again to push it into double figures.

In the other regional semifinal, No. 1 overall seed Denver clocked No. 4 seed Michigan Tech 5-2.

Penn State takes on the Pioneers in the regional final Sunday at 6 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Frozen Four in Chicago early next month. Sunday's action can be seen on ESPNU.


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The 2016-17 campaign has been a season of firsts for the Penn State hockey program.

In only their fifth year at the Division I level, the Nittany Lions climbed to No. 1 in the national rankings for the first time back in January. Then, after a bit of a late-season swoon, Guy Gadowsky’s club won its first Big Ten Tournament title earlier this month.

That helped PSU earn the first NCAA Tournament bid in school history, and the third-seeded Nittany Lions opened NCAA play against second-seeded Union (N.Y.) in a Midwest Regional semifinal at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati Saturday. http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1765860-penn-stat...

You can now add first NCAA Tournament win to that impressive resume. Penn State’s high octane offense was too much for the Dutchmen (25-10-3) to handle and the Lions (25-11-2) came away with a 10-3 victory. And while you're at it, add the first 10-goal performance in program history. It marked the first time in 27 years a team scored 10 goals in an NCAA game.

Sophomore forward Chase Berger paced PSU with a pair of goals and an assist.

The Nittany Lions were anything but intimidated in their first NCAA Tournament appearance, as Berger assisted on one goal (to Brandon Biro for the initial NCAA goal in PSU history) and scored another himself in the first period.

But the Dutchmen — the 2014 national champs — responded quickly both times, getting tallies from Brendan Taylor and Spencer Foo. Foo’s goal came 24 seconds after Berger found the net and tied it 2-2.

Penn State took just over a minute into the second period to break the tie, pressuring Union goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos with a barrage of action before Kris Myllari beat the netminder with a one-timer from just inside the blue line.

But again Union responded. On a power play midway through the period, the Dutchmen cycled the puck to the right corner before sliding a pass to Foo on the doorstep on the left side. PSU goalie Peyton Jones had no chance of stopping it and the score was 3-3.

A few minutes later, Berger was at it again. He cleanly beat Sakellaropoulos to the open right side of the net. The play was reviewed, as the net was knocked off its pegs just as Berger was shooting. But it was obvious the goalie had kicked the net loose and the goal stood for a 4-3 PSU lead.

Less than five minutes later, Sakellaropoulos turned away another heavy shot by Myllari. But Dylan Richard was there for the rebound and easy stick-back goal for a 5-3 lead.

It seemed to be a good sign as PSU was 14-0 on the season when it scored five or more goals in a game.

The Nittany Lions had a penalty kill late in the second period to carry the two-goal edge into the third.

Early in the third, PSU’s Nate Goodwin worked his way through the Dutchmen defense and fired a shot on goal. Sakellaropoulos blocked it toward the other side of the ice — and right to Lion Nate Sucese. Sucese found the net and State led 6-3.

Less than five minutes later, PSU’s Denis Smirnov scored off a turnover to make it 7-3. That prompted Union to pull Sakellaropoulos, a senior. It made no difference. Less than two minutes later, Lion Nikita Pavlychev beat Dutchman backup goalie Jake Kupsky on a power play to make it 8-3.

Andrew Sturtz tacked on a shorthanded goal to make it 9-3. And then Sucese scored again to push it into double figures.

In the other regional semifinal, No. 1 overall seed Denver clocked No. 4 seed Michigan Tech 5-2.

Penn State takes on the Pioneers in the regional final Sunday at 6 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Frozen Four in Chicago early next month. Sunday's action can be seen on ESPNU.

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