PHILADELPHIA - Penn State received goals from four different players on Saturday night and Matthew Skoff made 34 saves as the Nittany Lions won the inaugural Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff 4-2 at the Wells Fargo Center. Vermont falls to 6-12-4 (3-8-4 HEA) on the year, while Penn State improves to 9-12-0 overall.
Penn State netted two goals in the first period to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Just over three minutes into the game, Taylor Holstrom skated onto a bouncing puck in the Vermont slot and slapped a quick shot under Brody Hoffman's arm pit to open the scoring. Later in the period, David Glen one-timed a centering pass from Justin Kirchhevel inside the left post to double the lead at 18:39.
Kirchhevel added to the Nittany Lion lead nearly halfway through the game on a wraparound. The junior stuffed the puck at the right post and Hoffman slid over to cover the pipe. The play was initially ruled as a left pad save by the rookie, but a video review determined that the puck trickled over the goal line inside the pipe.
The Catamounts responded less than 90 seconds later on their fifth power play of the night to get back within two. Brett Bruneteau fed Nick Luukko in the left wing faceoff circle, and the Philadelphia Flyers draft pick centered the puck to Robert Polesello. The rookie fired a quick low shot under Skoff's pads to get Vermont on the board with his fourth tally of the year.
The Nittany Lions took the 3-1 lead into the second intermission and added an insurance goal late in the third after two straight Vermont penalty kills. Hoffman made an intial save on a rebound opportunity for Casey Bailey, but the freshman poked home a backhander as Hoffman sprawled in his crease.
Kyle Mountain cut into the advantage with 10.2 seconds left as he whipped a wrist shot past Skoff from the left half boards, but Penn State hung on for the victory. Hoffman finished the night with 27 saves in a losing effort, while Skoff picked up his fifth win of the season. UVM went 1-6 on the power play and a perfect 4-4 on the penalty kill.
The Catamounts return to Burlington next weekend as they host UMass Amherst in a two-game series on Friday (Jan. 25) and Saturday (Jan. 26) from Gutterson Fieldhouse at 7:05 p.m. The Minutemen defeated Vermont 3-1 back on Nov. 20 at the Mullins Center in the schools' first meeting of the season.
NOTES: The announced crowd at the Wells Fargo Center was 19,529 ... Nick Luukko, a native of West Chester, Pa., was drafted by the Flyers in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Draft ... Three other Catamounts hail from the Philadelphia area: Chris McCarthy (Collegeville, Pa.), Kyle Mountain (Bryn Mawr, Pa.), and Colin Markison (Princeton, N.J.) ... Vermont played its non-conference finale on Saturday and will face Hockey East opponents for the rest of the regular season ... Saturday marked the first-ever meeting between UVM and Penn State, which joined Division I this season.