Sunday, February 3, 2019

AS Herb Brooks was quoted in one of his most famous speeches, "If we played them ten times, they might win nine!" Nothing was more true on this night, when twenty one brothers banded together to pull one of the greatest upsets in College Hockey East. PSU has recorded one win over CAL1 in the past ten years. The last victory coming Jan 31, 2011, almost eight years to the day. With CAL looking for another unprecedented regular season championship, the only thing that stood in their way was PSU Altoona Nittany Lions. The team had a week of high tempo practices. Former Icer's Coach Joe Battista delivered a powerful pregame speech, and the boys did the rest. Thirteen seconds into the game, PSU drew first blood, as Cam Yeckley put PSU ahead assisted by his brother Cole, and Vincent DeFazio. A little over four minutes later, the Captain, Catcher Cumming took a stretch pass from Cory Gates and Hayden Bridges, splitting the defense and beating the goalie top shelf. CAL would cut the deficit in half at the 5:42 mark. Sophomore, Max Lesnikov would give the Lions a 3-1 lead with a breakaway goal at 1:43. PSU would be out shot 16-10 in the first period. Expecting a fierce attack from CAL, the Lions would have to weather an early storm. At 17:52, the Vulcans would narrow PSU's lead 3-2. Then it would become a goaltenders duel until senior, Vinny DeFazio, would reestablish the Lions two goal lead on the power-play assisted by Drew Poleshuk, as the puck squirted past the Vulcan's netminder with 36 seconds remaining in the second period. Goaltenders would play a key role in the game, as Jonah Brous would turn away Cal's onslaught. Then with in fifteen seconds the Vulcans would tie the score 4-4 with 4:57 remaining in the third period. Coach Lantz called timeout, and calmed his team down. Instead of folding, PSU dug deep and sophomore Cory Gates responded with a huge top-shelf goal with 2:28 remaining from Catcher Cumming and Braden Clark, giving PSU a 5-4 lead. With the Vulcan's goalie pulled for the extra attacker, Max Lesnikov would assist Max Ivkan on an empty net goal. Ivkan would score his second of the game with 57 seconds remaining, beating Ryan Lloyd one more time. PSU would be out-shot 63-39, but would secure the victory 7-4. Coach Lantz said this about his team's effort. "No one could have scripted this game any better. With this being my last home game as head coach, and against such a huge rival, I am so very proud of each and everyone of these players today." PSU still has two games remaining, but look on track to qualify for the College Hockey East playoffs. Once post season starts, everyone starts with a 0-0 record and momentum can be a huge factor. Right now PSU has a lot of momentum.