STATE COLLEGE, Penn – In the third period, Colton Phinney stood in front of the Roar Zone’s sign stating “Guy likes us better.” While Princeton was down 4-0 against its former coach, Phinney wasn’t phased in the last frame. He gave up zero goals – allowing Princeton to return to form.
“We knew coach [Guy] Gadowsky would have his team flying high there,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “They came out, threw a lot of pucks on net. Obviously [the] word’s out on Colton Phinney, [you] need traffic and players around him to get it by him. Colton fought hard.”
In that period, the Tigers fought back from a 4-0 deficit to bring the score to 4-3. The Tigers eventually fell to the Nittany Lions 6-3 thanks to a couple of empty net goals.
“It was a great comeback by us in the third period, we started executing on what we needed to do,” Fogarty said.
From puck drop, Penn State overpowered the Tigers. It took Tommy Olczyk less than five minutes to give the Nittany Lions a lead, which became a 2-0 advantage before first intermission. While Princeton earned some chances in the first and more in the second, they couldn’t score.
But things changed quietly in the third period, when Eric Robinson’s shot trickled past Penn State’s Matthew Skoff. Fans looked around confused, waiting to see if the puck was in the net. And after it slowly rolled in, Robinson celebrated.
And 1:32 minutes later, Ryan Siiro’s shot did the same. Less than two minutes later, Robinson added his second goal of the game – turning a 4-0 deficit into a 4-3 game within 3:17.
“[I] was really proud of our guys in the third period. That’s all you can you ask,” Fogarty said. “We were down four nothing, [then we were] getting back to what’s making [us] successful. Our guys did a great job of executing [and] gave us a chance to win. That’s been our motto since day one. Give ourselves an opportunity to win a game. And we did that in the third.”
Princeton pulled Colton Phinney late in the game, but Olczyk scored an empty-net goal for his first collegiate hat trick. Curtis Loik added another empty netter 35 seconds later. Chase Berger, younger brother of former Princeton captain Jack, also scored, as did Penn State captain David Glen.
The Tigers allowed two goals on the penalty kill for the first time all season and were unable to score on the power play. That included a five-minute major power play after Kenn Brooks earned a game misconduct for checking from behind.
Phinney made 39 saves in the loss while Penn State’s Matthew Skoff made 22 stops for the win.
“Matthew Skoff played an outstanding game. [He] made three great saves, they’re outstanding saves. He was one of the reasons why we couldn’t sustain any momentum. I thought he played a heck of the game,” Fogarty said.
“Skoff made some great saves when we had some sustained pressure to nullify any opportunities. We could’ve made it 2-1, [he] made a great diving save.”