Penn State tops Robert Morris, moves to Three Rivers Classic final
By Jason Mackey
Published: Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, 10:00 p.m.
The Robert Morris men's hockey team got another spectacular goaltending performance in the Three Rivers Classic.
Despite Terry Shafer making a career-high 59 saves, the Colonials suffered a 3-2 loss to Penn State on Friday at Consol Energy Center.
It's an outcome far less satisfying than Eric Levine stopping 99 shots last year en route to the tournament title.
“I joked with my assistants between the second and third periods and said, ‘(Shafer) might get 99 saves tonight the way we're going about it,' ” RMU coach Derek Schooley said. “He needs some help, and we didn't give it to him.”
Eric Scheid got the game-winner after a blocked shot at with 1:40 remaining in the third period to finish Penn State's comeback from a 2-1 deficit.
“Just don't miss,” Scheid said about what was going through his head when he saw a wide-open net.
“I couldn't have asked for a more gift-wrapped goal.”
Penn State (4-9-1) will face Boston College at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the championship game.
Tommy Olczyk and Nate Jensen added power-play goals for the Nittany Lions, who snapped a six-game losing streak.
“It's nice to see our power play working on different fronts,” Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said. “Sometimes, it's a little bit like putting. Sometimes, you do the exact same thing, and they're not dropping.”
Robert Morris (2-12-2) converted on the power play at 2:20 of the second to take a 1-0 lead when defenseman Tyson Wilson got his first goal of the season.
Penn State came in converting 21.2 percent (11 for 52) of the time, and Robert Morris was converting at 23.8 percent (10 for 42), ranking second and fifth, respectively, in the Big Ten and Atlantic Hockey Association.
Penn State answered with a power-play goal of its own, as Jensen fired a wrist shot from the right point that found its way through traffic at 8:58.
The play was made possible by a nifty pass along the boards from Curtis Loik.
David Friedmann finished a feed from Brandon Denham at 18:39 of the second to put Robert Morris ahead 2-1 before Olczyk knocked in a rebound on the power play at 9:14 of the final period.
“(Shafer) played unbelievable tonight,” said Penn State goalie Matthew Skoff, a McKees Rocks native. “Definitely gave them more than a chance to win. I just kept telling myself that we were going to score.”
In the first game, Boston College (11-4-2) topped Bowling Green, 5-0, getting four goals from defensemen.
Pittsburgh native Travis Jeke, making his season debut, scored the second of three goals in the first period.
Brian Billett made 27 saves, and Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and two assists to lift his point total to 31, which ranks second in NCAA Division I.
Teddy Doherty, Mike Matheson and Scott Savage also scored for Boston College, which has won six straight over Bowling Green.
Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.
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