In their first game after their holiday break on Monday, then ranked No. 20 Penn State (9-6-2, 3-1-0-0 B1G) dropped to No. 19 Robert Morris (12-2-3, 9-2-3 AHA) 4-2 on a questionable penalty to start the tournament and finished the series with a lackluster 4-1 loss versus Western Michigan (7-9-2, 2-6-2-2 NCHC) Tuesday afternoon in the consolation game.
Monday: 4-2 loss vs. Robert Morris
Tuesday: 4-1 loss vs. Western Michigan
Special teams killed Penn State in the Three Rivers Classic. Monday's possibly phantom misconduct call against Jensen was the start of the Nittany Lions' downfall in their game against Robert Morris, who scored twice on the five minute contact to the head major.
"That [penalty] was the game," Gadowsky said after the loss Monday. "We watched it over and over, and we were going to tell Nate Jensen to make that exact play, the exact same way every single time."
Penn State's penalty kill let in three goals on eight attempts in the tournament while getting no goals on their seven chances on the power play. The Nittany Lions have the sixth best ranked power play in the NCAA and the second highest in the Big Ten with 23.88 percent, while their penalty kill ranks near the bottom of the pack at 43rd in the NCAA at 80 percent and third last in the Big Ten.
Special teams can make or break games and that certainly looks that way after the series Penn State had.