Penn State hockey raises banner, wins opener

Thursday night's season home opener at Pegula Ice Arena was not like any other as the Nittany Lions unveiled not only one, but two banners for Penn State's mens hockey team for the first time in the history of the program.

Penn State's offense shone as they battled American International College (0-5-1) after being on the road for the past two weeks. 

"We have to recalibrate things a little bit defensively," Head coach, Guy Gadowsky said after the game. "All-in-all, very happy to be back, happy to get a win." 

The Nittany Lions gave up the most shots (33) they have given up so far this year, according to Gadowsky. 

Although the three starts of the night were Brandon Biro, Cole Hults and Chase Berger of Penn State (in that order), Gadowsky and teammates gave a lot of credit to Andrew Sturtz.

"I thought Sturtzy deserves a lot of credit," Gadowsky said when asked about Berger's goal. "I thought he all got us going a little bit just by being the guy he is, and certainly when that's happening Berger comes right along with him and I thought they were a real spark for us early."

Although Martin Mellberg of American Internation scored the first goal 5 minutes into the first period, Penn State was quick to come back and hold position of the puck for the majority of the game. 

Freshman Cole Hultz was able to experience Pegula for the first time and score his first of the season.

“The puck just came out to me,” Hults said after the game. “I just got a clear lane to the net."

Hultz explained that his instincts took over and he then went straight to the net.

Denis Smirnov, who was recently named the Big Ten’s Second Star of the Week, scored his fourth goal of the season on a wraparound. 

Gadowsky confirmed that #14 Nate Sucese will be back in action tonight after being placed on a one-game suspension. 

Penn State, now 3-2-0, won 7-5 and will go for the sweep against American International tonight at 7 p.m. 

 

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