Union-Penn State postgame report (Sunday edition) (with 4 videos)
I don’t think the Union hockey team will ever admit to it. But I truly believe that the Dutchmen are happy that their two-game series with NCAA hockey Division I rookie Penn State is over.
Many fans expected the eighth-ranked Dutchmen to crush a supposed inexperienced Nittany Lions squad. With the veterans the Dutchmen have versus a Penn State team that is dominated by underclassmen, it would be logical to think that Union would go 2-0.
The Dutchmen did go 2-0. However, they were pushed hard by the Nittany Lions. Union lacked intensity in its 2-0 win Saturday, a game that Dutchmen coach Rick Bennett said that his team was “fortunate” to win.
Sunday’s rematch was a 4-1 victory for the Dutchmen. But once again, the intensity seemed to be lacking at time.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a sense of relief,” Union defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said. “It’s definitely good to get out of there with two wins. But they’re a good team. They have a good group of guys. They are going to be good, for sure.”
Sunday’s game was 1-1 heading into the third period. Penn State had tied the game 50 seconds into the second period on a David Glen rebound goal. The Nittany Lions continued to put the Dutchmen on the defensive, so much so that Bennett was forced to use his 60-second timeout with 17:14 left in the second.
“[It was] time to, basically, start representing that jersey the way it should be,” Bennett said. “As a staff, we just felt we [needed to] switch it up a little bit and regroup.”
Gostisbehere got the Dutchmen rolling in the third. His power-play goal at 3:23 snapped the tie. Mark Bennett made it 3-1, redirecting a Ryan Forgaard left-point shot at 8:08.
But each time the Dutchmen scored, Nittany Lions would battle back and carry the play. They had the Dutchmen running around in their zone. Penn State outshot Union, 15-13, in the third period. Penn State finished with 38 shots on goal.
I thought the Dutchmen’s intensity was spotty throughout the game. I asked Bennett about that.
“I think that’s a perfect word — it was spotty,” Bennett said. “We knew they’d put a lot of shots on net, and that’s what they did again to us. Thirty-eight shots is probably their norm, and we didn’t disappoint them there, as far as stick on puck and trying to keep those pucks away.
“We have a lot of work to do.”
With the Dutchmen returning to ECAC Hockey play Friday when they host a hot Quinnipiac team (5-0-1 in its last six games), they need to pick up that intensity once again. You just can’t switch it on and off.
Union junior goalie Troy Grosenick returned to the lineup after suffering a right-leg injury Nov. 9 against Harvard.
Grosenick was tested. He stopped 37 shots. He was happy to be back playing again.
“It felt real good,” Grosenick said. “Obviously, I hate when I have to sit. That’s just the way it goes, sometimes. At the same time, it’s was real nice to get back out there and compete with the boys. I had a fun time doing it.”
Grosenick said he any problems with the leg.
“It’s 100 percent,” he said. “Everything is fine.”
He wasn’t happy with the goal he allowed. Kenny Brooks took a bad-angle shot from the right-wing boards, which Grosenick stopped. But the rebound came to Glen in front, and he found an opening between Grosenick’s pads.
“I just screwed up, to be quite honest,” Grosenick said. “I got on the post low in a situation I shouldn’t have. I got the first one, an [Glen] made a quick little swat of the puck and it went through my legs. That one is on me.
“There’s still some work to do. I’ll make some corrections with coach [Jason] Tapp and get back after it.”
Wayne Simpson’s assist on Gostisbehere’s goal moved him closer to 100 career points. Simpson has 92 points.
I have four postgame videos.
To see Bennett's press conference, click here.
To view an interview with Gostisbehere, click here.
To view an interview with Grosenick, click here.
To watch Penn State’s press conference, click here.
My three stars of the game:
1) Troy Grosenick, Union goalie — Made 37 saves in return to lineup.
2) Shayne Gostisbehere, Union defenseman — Scored power-play goal that started a three-goal third period.
3) Matthew Skoff, Penn State goalie — Another terrific effort in making 42 saves.
That’s all from Messa Rink. Check out my Slap Schotts College Hockey blog on Monday.
Good Night! Good Hockey!