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Penn State Stuns RIT On Tigers' Homecoming

Tigers had PP final four minutes and could not get tying goal in 3-2 loss
Sophomore netminder PJ Musico (Orange, Calif.) made 40 saves and sophomore Max Gardiner (Deephaven, Minn.) and freshman Casey Bailey (Anchorage, Alaska) recorded a goal and an assist each to lead the Penn State men's hockey team to a 3-2 upset victory against RIT at Blue Cross Arena Saturday evening. The Nittany Lions, who played at an AHL venue for the second straight Saturday, improved to 2-2-0 in front of a sellout crowd of 10,556.

Freshmen forward Curtis Loik (North Vancouver, B.C.) also scored for the Nittany Lions, while junior Michael McDonagh (Wilmington, Mass.) recorded an assist for his collegiate point. Loik gave Penn State a 1-0 first-period lead before RIT tied the game up at 1-1 early in the second. Bailey and Gardiner tallied to make it a 3-1 game before RIT's Jeff Smith made it 3-2.

RIT outshot Penn State by a 42-22 margin. The Nittany Lions were 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Tigers were 0-for-3 with the man advantage.

Both Penn State and RIT generated several quality chances during the first period before Loik's goal. While on their first-period power play, the Tigers registered three shots, including a point-blank attempt that Musico denied. On the same sequence, RIT's Adam Mitchell looked to bang home the loose puck in front of an open net, but junior defenseman Nate Jensen (Shorewood, Minn.) was able to get his stick in front of the try.

With 10 seconds remaining in the frame, Loik scored his first collegiate goal to put the Nittany Lions up 1-0. Freshman Kenny Brooks (Las Vegas, Nev.) sent a backhanded attempt to the side of the cage that was misplayed by Watson. With the loose puck behind the net, classmate David Glen (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.) won the battle below the goal line before sending a pass to Loik in front. The freshman then fired a shot low to the glove side for the marker.

 

 

The Tigers tied the game 1:59 into the second period. From the left corner, Mitchell slid the puck to Ben Lynch near the slot, where he wristed a shot into the back of the net.

With 11:54 left in the frame, Bailey scored his second of the season as Penn State grabbed a 2-1 advantage. In the offensive zone, McDonagh chipped the puck to Gardiner, who skated toward the slot. He then slipped the puck down to Bailey below the bottom of the left circle, where he fired a shot that Watson stopped before knocking the rebound past the netminder.

Musico again impressed in net, stopping 13 second-period shots. Early in the frame, the Orange, Calif., native denied Lynch on 2-on-1 chance with a right-pad save. With less than two minutes remaining in the stanza, Musico thwarted Dan Schuler from the right circle following a Penn State defensive misplay.

Penn State doubled its lead, 3-1, with 13:03 left in the third period. Bailey dove for the puck in the left circle and sent it back to defenseman Joseph Lordo (St. Louis, Mo.), who fired a shot that was blocked by a RIT defenseman. Gardiner found the loose puck and spun around, firing a shot through the five hole for the power-play tally. The goal marked the Deephaven, Minn., native's first in a Penn State uniform.

RIT's Jeff Smith made it a 3-2 contest with 5:10 left in the third period. From the right corner, Ben Reid sent a pass to Jeff Smith, who had his initial shot stopped by Musico before scoring on the rebound.

Penn State played the final 4:13 down a man following a major penalty. With the puck in Penn State's defensive zone, Musico made nine stops.

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