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Nittany Lion Notebook: Penn State vs. Cornell

Matt Christians

The Nittany Lions brought their two-month road trip to The World's Most Famous Arena this past weekend as they took on Cornell in the Frozen Apple at Madison Square Garden Saturday night.

The trip was Penn State's (7-4-2) fourth NHL arena visit in their time as a Division I program, but the Nittany Lions could not hold onto an early lead as they were downed by the Big Red (4-4-1) 3-1 in front of 15,027 fans.

Saturday: 3-1 loss vs. Cornell

Saturday's match was the first meeting between the two teams in 70 years and Penn State forward David Goodwin gave the Nittany Lions a quick 1-0 start. With 9:11 gone in the first period, Goodwin cashed in on a hard effort by Taylor Holstrom after the forward took the puck down the right wing and put a pass in front of the Cornell net, where it bounced off of teammate Casey Bailey to Goodwin and was deposited in past netminder Mitch Gillam for the score.

The tally was Goodwin's fifth of the season and Holstrom added his 14th helper for the year as he continues to lead the nation in assists.

The Penn State lead lasted until John Knisley broke the score open for Cornell with 6:01 to go in the second period. Holden Anderson's point shot deflected off of Knisley's stick in close and beat Nittany Lion starting goaltender Matt Skoff to tie the game at 1-1.

Penn State had multiple opportunities to take the lead back from the Big Red, but great goaltending by Gillam and some luck from the Cornell goal posts kept the game tied until late in the game.

With 8:32 to go in the game, Joel Lowry tacked on his third goal of the year on a 2-on-1 advantage with teammate John McCarron after a Nittany Lion fell that sprung the break to give Cornell the 2-1 score.

Knisley added his second of the game with 1:06 left on an empty net after Penn State pulled Skoff for the extra man to help Cornell come away with the 3-1 victory.

Penn State did best Cornell on the scoresheet in the shot count, outshooting the Big Red 38-25 and 12-5 in the first frame alone. Both teams were blanked on the power play, with Penn State going 0-2 and Cornell 0-1.

The Good

Penn State put up 16 shots on Cornell in the third period of Saturday's matchup. While unfortunately, none of them went in for a leading or tying score, the Nittany Lions had their chances but seemed to be on the wrong side of some puck luck and great goaltending by Gillam.

"I thought we had some pretty good chances," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "There were a few more bounces that went an offensive way on both sides of the puck. I thought we had some of our best opportunities in the third.

"We had lots of good chances to go ahead, but credit their goaltender, he played really well."

The Bad

The 3-1 loss is Penn State's first time losing back-to-back games this season after last weekend's 8-1 defeat to Big Ten opponent Michigan. This would be a very bad time in the schedule for the Nittany Lions to head on a down streak, with two games against conference opponent Wisconsin looming next weekend before the team heads to the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh to end out the 2014 half of the season.

Obviously, there's no real reason to panic just yet for Penn State with a two-game losing streak. The real test should come this weekend against the Badgers, a team that just snapped a nine-game winless streak and will be looking to rebound on a dismal start to the season. The Nittany Lions should end the year above .500 if they keep playing the way they have been over the first third of the season.

Weekend Standout Players

  • F David Goodwin: 1G
  • F Taylor Holstrom: 1A
  • G Matt Skoff: .913 SV%, 2.66 GAA (Season: .919 SV%, 2.29 GAA)
  • Upcoming

    Penn State will play their second conference opponent next weekend when the team travels to Madison to play the Wisconsin Badgers (1-8-1) on Friday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 6 at 9 p.m. on both nights. Both games will also be broadcasted on ESPNews.