UNIVERSITY PARK- On Friday night Penn State hockey opened up their season and christened their new ice arena with a 4-1 win over Army.
On September 17, 2010, the university announced that Buffalo Sabres owner, Terry Pegula would be making an $88 million donation to build an arena. The year after, the team transitioned from Division 1 Club to NCAA D1 while they began construction on their new arena. This year, the Nittany Lions join the Big 10 and debut their new 6,000 seat arena.
Penn State fans filed into the arena an hour early, anxiously awaiting puck drop. The student section was relentless with chants of “We Are… Penn State” leading up to the start of the game. The crowd erupted even more when Pegula came out for the ceremonial puck drop with PSU captains Tommy Olczyk (son of Eddie Olczyk) and Brian Shultz.
Aside from 33 penalty minutes, the Nittany Lions gave their fans an exciting opening night. Nate Jensen opened up the game with a goal three minutes into the first period assisted by Taylor Holstrom.
After a scoreless second period, Penn State’s Curtis Loik scored a shorthanded goal assisted by David Goodwin at 3:24 of the third. At 12:27, David Goodwin scored his own to make it 3-0 with an assist from Zach Saar.
Three minutes later, Army’s Mac Lalor scored a 5-on-3 goal assisted by Willie Faust and Jonathan Gehrt. This was the only time they were able to capitalize on any of their nine power play opportunities.
The Lions’ last goal was an empty-netter scored by Eric Scheid at 19:35 to close out the win.
The arena was designed so the rowdy student section would be behind the opposing goaltender for two of the periods. That paid off well for the Lions. All of Penn State’s goals were scored when Army goalie, Rob Tadazak was in front of the students. In an interview, Tadazak said, “We don’t get that kind of student section at West Point…It’s nice to have people screaming. It’s all fun and games. I was going to shake their hands after the game. It keeps it interesting.”
Penn State goalie Matthew Skoff made 25 saves to hold Army to one. Penn State also won 60 percent of their faceoffs.
The Penn State team and fans look forward to this same excitement through the rest of the reason. Their next game is Friday, October 18 at Air Force. They will be back at Pegula on Friday, October 25 against RIT.
Photo courtesy of http://www.gopsusports.com/view.gal?id=148141