The Penn State Icers (28-3-1) defeated the No. 17 West Virginia Mountaineers 4-1 on Saturday evening at Kent State’s Hoover Arena in their first game of the 2012 ACHA Men’s Division I National Championships. Penn State, the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, advances to the quarterfinals.
While an early power play in the first period yielded nothing for Penn State, the Mountaineers got things rolling when they went on the first man advantage of their own. After the Icers were called for too many men on the ice, Tod Camara scored to put West Virginia up 1-0 at the 12:01 mark. Getting a second crack at the power play late in the period, Penn State would not let the opportunity go to waste, as Michael Longo scored with eight seconds left to tie the game at 1-1 as the teams headed to intermission.
In the second period, both goaltenders played very well to keep their teams in the game. Winning the race to a loose puck, Justin Kirchhevel had a chance to put the Icers ahead but was denied by Mountaineers goalie Rob Borcky. Penn State goalie Matt Madrazo also made some key saves, stopping West Virginia attackers on multiple occasions who had good looks on shots. Penn State would have yet another chance on the power play late in the second period, but the Mountaineers presented a solid defense and the game stayed deadlocked at 1-1 heading into the final period.
In the third period, Penn State needed a spark in order to keep their season alive. They got that spark on an odd-man rush off a beautiful saucer pass from Bryce Johnson to Brandon Russo, who buried it past Borcky to put the Icers up 2-1 at 15:03. A West Virginia hooking penalty with just over seven minutes left to play sent Penn State on their fourth power play of the game, and Taylor Holstrom capitalized on the opportunity just seconds in to give the Icers an insurance goal and a 3-1 lead. Quickly after, Kirchhevel found Mike McDonagh with a nice pass, and McDonagh increased the Penn State lead to 4-1, the score that would stand as final.
Penn State outshot the Mountaineers 30-14. The Icers were 2-4 on the power play and were able to kill one of the two power plays that West Virginia had.
The Icers will return to action tomorrow (Mar.4) when they take on No. 9 Oklahoma at 5 p.m. The Sooners won their first game of the tournament today in convincing fashion, beating No. 8 Iowa State 8-2.