Down 3-0 with five minutes left, The Penn State Icers (23-3-1) defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 4-3 in overtime on Saturday afternoon at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion, extending their home winning streak to fifteen games.
Unlike many of the games this year that the Icers have played in, there was no scoring during the first period. Both teams had at least two opportunities on the power play, but good penalty killing prevented anyone from scoring. Penn State’s George Saad drew an interference penalty with 1:04 left in the period, forcing the Icers to open up the second period with a man down.
Although Penn State was able to kill off the Saad minor to start the second, they would not be able to capitalize on their own man advantages. In a period that featured a total of eight penalties called between the two teams, it was Oklahoma that notched goals. First, Ryan Lee scored on a breakaway during 4-on-4 hockey at 7:04 to put the Sooners up 1-0. After a flurry of back and forth calls, Oklahoma would add to their lead while they were attempting to kill off an Icers power play. When a puck was cleared out of the Penn State attacking zone, Icers goalie Matt Madrazo raced out to clear to puck. He collided with an Oklahoma defender and the puck shot up into the air, eventually landing near the stick of Shane Vorndran. Vorndran backhanded the puck into the net from the blue line with 52 seconds left for the shorthanded goal, and Penn State headed into the intermission down 2-0.
In the third period, Oklahoma would continue to make things difficult for the Icers. They would add to their lead at the 6:34 mark, when Madrazo slid out of his crease to attempt a save. The loose puck popped right out to Vorndran, who flipped it into the open net to give the Sooners a 3-0 lead. Down but never out, the Icers would climb back into the game in the final five minutes. A wrist shot from Justin Kirchhevel beat Oklahoma goalie Nick Holmes stick side, brining the score to 3-1 at 15:00. Moments later, after both teams were called for roughing penalties, Head Coach Guy Gadowsky opted to pull Madrazo with 4:21 remaining. The move gave Penn State a 5-on-4 advantage, and Taylor Holstrom scored at 16:05 to bring the Icers within one at 3-2. With 32 seconds left, Kirchhevel scored again with the extra attacker on for the Icers, and the game headed to overtime.
In overtime, Saad crashed the net after an initial attempt from Eric Steinour and put the loose puck past Holmes at 2:07, giving the Icers a 4-3 victory.
Penn State outshot the Sooners 31-13. The Icers were 0-8 on the power play and were able to kill all six power plays that Oklahoma had.
The Icers will be back in action next weekend when they take on Mercyhurst on Friday (Feb. 10) at 7 p.m. and again on Saturday (Feb. 11) at 3:30 p.m. The games will be part of other festivities celebrating Penn State Hockey’s 2012 Alumni Weekend.