What a game at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday night as #9 Penn St took on unranked Princeton in the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff showdown. The game ended in a 4-4 tie but it was a game to remember for both teams as they head into the holiday break. Without further or do here are my 3 Takeaways from last nights matchup.
The Electric Atmosphere:
What an atmosphere in South Philly last night as fans from both teams came out in full force. Penn St no doubt was the majority in the crowd last night, but Princeton also had there fair share of fans in the seats. Throughout the night chants of ” We Are Penn St” echoed throughout the Wells Fargo Center. Its just a completely different experience than an NHL game. There never was a dull moment. Penn St Head Coach Guy Gadowsky had this to say when asked to talk about the experience of playing at the Wells Fargo Center: ” Its always a great experience to come here. It would’ve been nice for us to win this one obviously. The crowd, the facility, how we were treated was first class”. Sounds like Guy had a fun time last night and I guess you could draw the conclusion the fans had a goof time also.
The Play of Penn St:
Penn St started out fast, but then slowed down towards the end of the game.. Penn St led 4-2 headed into the 3rd period before Princeton scored two unanswered goals to tie the game at 4-4 and send it to OT. Penn St goaltender Peyton Jones was there best player at times Saturday night. In fact, he made a few saves late in the game that in the end allowed the game to end in a 4-4 tie. One of the biggest saves came in the in OT. If Jones doesn’t make that save, Princeton heads home with a win. Penn St center Chase Berger had this to say when I asked him if he thought the team laid back after they went up 4-1: ” I think we started to take long shifts. We tried to get a little fancy and that’s really not our game”. That’s a fair statement from the 6’0″, 195 pound center who finished with a goal and a +/- rating of +1. There’s no doubt Penn St changed there game plan after they got that three goal lead. They sat back and Princeton made them pay.
The Play Of Princeton:
The play of the Tigers was the exact opposite from the play of Penn St. The Tigers started out slow, but finished strong. Princeton’s best player was RW Max Veronneau who factored into all four of Princeton’s goals. He finished the game with two goals and two assists. You have to give Princeton credit. They’ve struggled this season despite not playing half bad. They came into this game with a 3-8-1 record on the season and as the underdogs against #9 ranked Penn St and proved everyone wrong. They didn’t get the win, but they come out of there feeling good about themselves with the game ending in a tie. I talked LW Ryan Kuffner who tied things up late in regulation to send the game to OT. When I asked him to talk to me about how big it was to claw back from a 4-1 deficit he had this to say: “I think it’s huge for the guys. It’s been a tough month. We’ve been playing decently well, but we just haven’t been able to catch a break and to end the skid right before the break I think is massive”. It sure was quite a comeback for the Tigers.
All in all, this was a great game all around. Its definitely one of those games where both teams brought there best competitive game. Next up for Penn St is a trip to Minnesota to take on the Gophers in a Big 10 Conference showdown on January 4th. Princeton heads home to take on Maine on December 28th. I will be checking in on both of these teams later in the season so stay tuned.