Penn State clinches playoff berth
Nittany Lions beat No. 19 Delaware in CAA action
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State won 13-3 at No. 19 Delaware in CAA action Saturday night. The win improved Penn State to 4-1 in Colonial Athletic Association play, clinching a conference play-off spot for the first time in Penn State’s two years in the league. Junior Matthew Mackrides lead Penn State with four goals in the game.
Penn State jumped out to an early 3-0 lead thanks to two goals from Mackrides. The veteran Lion scored unassisted at the 12:13 mark and again with just :02 left in the period. But sophomore Nick Dolik nailed the key goal of the period, scoring a man-down with 7:30 on the clock, sandwiched between the two Mackrides goals.
The Nittany Lions also owned a 2-1 edge in the second period. Gavin Ahern scored unassisted at the 12:37 mark to give Penn State a 4-0 lead before Delaware got on the board off a Grant Kaleikau goal at the 6:50 mark. Nittany Lion junior Jack Forster put Penn State up 5-1 with an unassisted goal with 2:51 on the clock, a lead the Nittany Lions would carry into the halftime break.
Penn State exploded for six goals in the third period, essentially putting the game away. Delaware scored first in the period with Eric Smith finding the net with 12:35 left. But Penn State then reeled off five straight to move out to a 10-2 lead. Matt Shankoff (Flemington, N.J.), Ahern, Billy Gribbin , Forster and Kyle VanThof each scored during the stretch. Delaware answered with a Kevin Kaminski goal with 1:24 left in the period, but Penn State closed out the third with another Ahern goal just five seconds later to lead 11-3 after three periods.
Penn State scored the only two goals of the final period with Mackrides notching this third and fourth goals of the game to give Penn State the resounding 13-3 win and clinch a spot in the CAA play-offs as the league takes its top four teams.
Mackrides’ four goals and an assist for five points led Penn State while Ahern added three goals and VanThof had a goal and an assist. Forster had two goals for the Lions as well. Goalie Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) had 11 saves in the game while the Penn State defense, anchored by senior Matt Bernier (Drexel Hill, Pa.) and freshman Steven Bogert (Carlsbad, Calif.) kept the Blue Hen offense in check. Bogert led Penn State with seven ground balls. Danny Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.) won 10 of 19 face offs for Penn State and had six ground balls. Penn State outshot Delaware 44-39 and held a massive 42-27 edge in ground balls.