Boston College prevailed over Penn State on Thursday night in the opening game of their two game series in Happy Valley by a score of 2-1 in overtime. Because the game extended into overtime, NCAA rules dictate that it’s not technically a full win for Boston College—merely 55% of a win(whatever that means). But while it may not have felt like a full win for the Eagles, it certainly felt like a full loss for the Nittany Lions.
Big picture, the loss moves Penn State to 0-2-1 on the season after their loss and tie to St. Lawrence last weekend. Coming off a season where Penn State dominated over the CHA and felt they might have deserved an at-large bid to last year’s NCAA Tournament, these two early seasons series were a chance to show that they belonged in the national conversation as a legit program, and not just a product of their weak league schedule. There’s no doubt the Lions are close, but they still need to take that next step of winning these big out-of-conference games.
But even more painful might be the way that they lost. After a shaky first 10 minutes of the game in which Boston College controlled play, Penn State was arguably the better team, and definitely had the better chances. They hit some crossbars. Kiara Zanon missed on a breakaway and Penn State couldn’t convert on the rebound. They had multiple chances at the end of regulation. And most notably, they were inches away from scoring in the overtime, before Boston College took the puck down for the winning goal.
Penn State is close. They might not have had the depth that Boston College does, but Penn State’s top lines are capable of skating with anyone. There’s little doubt that they are a very solid hockey team. On Friday night, they’ll get one more chance against Boston College on Friday night to earn a result that matches that sentiment.