Saturday, January 28, 2012

Holey Schnikie!

With apologies for "borrowing" the signature phrase of ESPN hockey fan John Buccigross, I couldn't think of a better way to describe Friday's 2-1 come-from-behind victory by Penn State over the Ohio Bobcats after Rodney Martin beat me to what I planned to use!

Well played, sir!

Two third period goals by Taylor Holstrom ("Holey" to his teammates) overcame Zack Barbis' first period tally for the Bobcats. The Icers won their 20th of the season and in doing so handed OU their first home loss of the year.

Simply put, the first of the final two games at the Bird Arena lived up to every expectation. Simply put, it was a war from the opening faceoff.

The Bobcats, energized by Gang Green and the majority of the sold-out crowd at the Bird, exploded out of the gate and took runs at anyone in a blue sweater. The Icers responded in kind, leading to a steady parade to the penalty box in the first 20 minutes.

The Icers dominated play in the middle frame as the penalty parade continued. The teams settled down to solid end-to-end hockey in the third, with just four penalties called in the final 20 minutes.

The good news is that the Icers went 8-8 on the penalty kill. The bad news is that the Icers were 0-8 on the power play. Many of the penalties (both ways) were the after the whistle calls that frustrate coaches, and some of the Icers were guilty of letting the Bobcats get under their skin.

Both teams had their chances early on, and both teams were denied goals by the netminders' best friend - the goal post. Brett Agnew for OU and Eric Steinour were robbed by the red pipes in the first period.

The battle included the goaltenders. OU's Fedor Dushkin was spectacular, stopping 26 shots to earn third star honors. Meanwhile, P. J. Musico was named second star as he went toe-to-toe with the Rovno, Ukraine native, stopping 18 Bobcats blasts to record his 10th win of the season.

Vince Chandler and I talked about the rivalry between these storied programs and what it has meant to the ACHA. As I put it, two teams that have a "respectful" hate for each other.

That respect was displayed by the member of Gang Green who paid tribute to Coach Paterno before the game. On behalf of the Penn State family, thank you for your support.

So, now it comes down to one more battle at this venerable bandbox and one more climb into our broadcast booth. One more night that will see both teams leaving it all on the ice and one more night where I expect to be drained by the time we sign off.

And then -- one more long bus ride back to Hockey Valley. Oh well, three out of four ain't bad! Game time can't come soon enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment