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Penn State falls in OT before sellout

| Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, 10:50 p.m.
Penn State's Tommy Olczyk looks for an open teammate against American International College during an NCAA college hockey game at Greenberg Ice Pavilion, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, in State College, Pa. (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Abby Drey) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT

UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State played a hockey game as an NCAA Division I program for the first time since 1946 on Friday night at Greenberg Pavilion.

The Nittany Lions lost in overtime to American International, 3-2, but the program couldn't have been a bigger success.

Penn State played before a raucous, standing-room-only sellout and was probably the better team on this night.

“I feel so good after an overtime loss,” Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said.

The scene outside of Greenberg Pavilion a couple of hours before the contest started wasn't exactly reminiscent of the pregame football scene at Beaver Stadium, but it didn't lack enthusiasm. Hundreds of students waited outside of the building before finally being allowed inside one hour before faceoff.

They never stopped cheering and never took a seat.

“I loved the fans, loved the student section,” Gadowsky said. “This is why I came here. This is why my staff came here. This is why recruits came here.”

American International was impressed, too.

“Probably the best atmosphere I've ever played in front of,” American International goalie Ben Meisner said. “That crowd was awesome.”

Penn State outshot American International 63-29, firing pucks at will throughout the evening.

“I loved the way we played tonight,” Gadowsky said. “We had no idea what to expect. We didn't know if we'd be overmatched.”

American International's Nathan Sliwinski put his team ahead just 2:43 into the game, but Penn State evened the score, as forward Casey Bailey crashed the net and found a rebound, setting the crowd into a frenzy at 4:37 of the second period.

“They just keep coming at you,” Meisner said.

However, Chris Markiewicz gave American International a 2-1 lead later in the second period, before Penn State tied the score at 2-2 on Taylor Holstrom's goal with 6:06 left in regulation. American International's Jon Puskar scored the game-winner during the final minute of overtime.

“Penn State was very impressive,” AIC coach Gary Wright said. “It was a treat to be here to experience this night.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jyohe@tribweb.com.

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