Saturday, March 19, 2016

PSU started its hunt for a national title in dramatic fashion, picking up two huge wins in the seeding games, which earned the Lions a first round bye and a birth in the semi-finals. The Lions would first meet the Flying Dutchmen of Union, who had been souring towards the end of the season. NCHA leading scoring Nico Gricco (Littler) would get the Lions rolling two minutes into the game, with a snipe over Calder Ryan's shoulder. Twenty seconds later, sophomore Mike Pilla (Gricco), would tally his first of the night, giving the Lions a 2-0 lead. Union wouldn't waste any time as Andrew Tullo would cut the deficit in half. Howerver, a minute later Pilla (Gricco / Littler), would reestablish the Lions two goal lead. Tullo would score his second for the Dutchmen three minutes later making it a 3-2 score. Then with 3:24 remaining in the first period, Pilla would complete the hatrick assisted by Matt Littler. With the Lions on the power play, freshman sensation Mitch Rupprechtwould score his first of the tourney from Nico Gricco. PSU lead 5-2 at the end of one. Union would come out flying and score first on a goal from Eric Friedlander. Mike Lassik (Tamburi) would reestablish the three goal lead with a shot from the point. Friedlander would score the next two, with his last goal coming with :31 left in the period. PSU would lead at the end of two 6-5, with Union having all the momentum. Union would tie the score fifty three seconds into the third period. Three minutes later, with PSU back on the power play, Rupprecht would tally his second of the game from Gricco. Then at 14:29, Pilla (Littler / Gricco) would net his fourth goal of the game. Steve Gilchrist made some huge saves for the Lions turning away 29 of 35 shots in the Lions 8-6 victory. Sophomore Mike Pilla would earn the teams MVP belt for his performance. Playing their second game in less than three hours, PSU would face off against California Lutheran University. PSU would start quick as sophomore Mike Pilla (Littler), picked up where he left off beating Grant Yurosko five hole at 15:34. CLU would even the score at 12:42 when Janowski scored. Littler (Pilla / Ludwig) would give the Lions a 2-1 lead :38 later. Then in shocking fashion, CLU would score the next two and lead the Lions 3-2 at the end of one. PSU would get back to basics and start putting the puck on net and score the next three goals. Mitch Rupprecht (Hagan), would knot the score at 3. Then with the Lions on the penalty kill, Rupprecht would receive a lead pass from Mike Lassik and give PSU a 4-3 lead. Nico Gricco made it 5-3 on a nifty pass (The Rat), from Mike Pilla. PSU would lead 5-3 at the end of two. 1:30 into the third period, Mitch Rupprecht would complete the hat-trick from Tamburi and Ludwig. CLU would make it 6-4 five minutes later. Then at 11:22, with what would be the eventual game winner, Nico Gricco (Lyons / Littler) would give PSU a 7-4 lead. The Knights however did not give up would score two more goals making it 7-6. Then with the goaltender pulled and the extra attacker on the ice, CLU had several chances to tie the score. PSU would hold on for the victory. Josh Snyder would turn away 23 shots in the Lions victory. Rupprecht would win the MVP belt for the second game. Coach Lantz had this to say about his teams performance. "It wasn't a pretty win, but when you get to Nationals, everyone of these teams deserves to be here. And at the end of the day a win is a win. This was our second game in 6 hours so I am sure fatigue had part to do with the game. CLU played us very tough." With the win, PSU gets a much needed rest and automatic bid into the semi-finals tomorrow at 5:00 PM against the winner of the Saint Vincent vs. CLU Knights.