NIVERSITY PARK, Penn. - The Alaska Nanooks hockey team dropped their first of two games to Penn State on Thursday, Oct. 17. The final score was 0-7 and the loss dropped the Nanooks to 2-3-0, 2-0-0-0 WCHA, snapping their short two-game winning-streak.
This was the first meeting between the 'Nooks and Nittany Lions since 2014 when Alaska hosted and defeated PSU, 4-3. Unfortunately this was not the case on Thursday's matchup. It took Penn State only 32 seconds into the game and first period to light the lamp post as Tyler Gratton scored his first goal of the season. 6 minutes and five seconds later, Penn State answered with another goal, this time from Aarne Talvitie, who took a centering pass from Connor MacEachern and sent it past Nanooks goalkeeper, Gustavs Grigals.
Grigals' day was just starting; Penn State sent 14 shots on goal in the first period, resulting in four total goals past Grigals. Liam Folkes checked in 9:12 into the first period and Paul DeNaples added another with 7:29 remaining in the first. When the first period horn sounded, the Nanooks found themselves in a 0-4 hole. Following a switch to Anton Marinsson in goal, the second set saw the 'Nooks settle in and hold the Nittany Lions to only 11 shots, while getting 16 of their own on goal. The Nanooks were deperate for a goal in the second, but nothing coudl get past PSU goalie, Peyton Jones.
The Alaska squad could not get anything going in the third period. After a second period with 16 shots on goal, and constant pressure on Jones, that momentum shifted back to Penn State. The Lion's put 18 shots on Martinsson while the Nanooks only managed six shots on goal.
The third period also saw the Nittany Lions shut the door completely. 6:36 into the third, Penn State struck again. This time Brandon Biro, who locked in his third goal of the season as he took a pass from Nate Sucese, the Lion's leading scorer. This made the score 0-5 Penn State. PSU went on to add two more goals, one by Nikita Pavlychev, and another by Denis Smirnov. Both of these goals were assisted on by Nate Sucese, who grabbed three points, all on three assists.
Grigals ended the day playing 12:31 minutes, saving six shots and allowing four goals. Martinsson came in and finished the game wiht 47:29 of time on ice, allowing three goals and saving 30 goals.
These two teams meet again tomorrow, Oct. 18 at 3:00 p.m. AKT at the Pegula Ice Arena on the Penn State campus. The Nanooks will look to grab the finale of this short two-game series before they open up the 2019-20 AK Governor's Cup at Anchorage next weekend.