Defense Leads Bucknell Over Penn State
from press release
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Sophomore Kyle Feeney
(Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich) made a season-high 14 saves behind a
stout defense, and classmate Chase Bailey (Fairfield,
Conn./Fairfield Prep) collected a career-high four points with two
goals and two assists to lead 18th-ranked Bucknell to a narrow 8-6
win over No. 20 Penn State at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium on
Tuesday night. The Bison allowed only one goal in the second half
and improved to 8-2 on the season.
Shane Sturgis had two goals and an assist for the Nittany Lions, who fell to 4-4 on the season and saw their three-game winning streak come to an end. Penn State had just entered the national rankings this week at No. 20, and the Bison are now 3-1 against ranked teams this season.
Ryan Klipstein (Califon, N.J./Rutgers Prep) and Todd Heritage (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) both had two goals and one assist, while Mike Danylyshyn (Fairport, N.Y./Fairport) also scored twice for Bucknell.
After a fast-paced start, the story of the game for both teams became defense, particularly in the second half. Penn State defensive middie Ryan Link started the scoring with a transition goal just 1:02 into the game, and the two teams traded goals all the way into the second quarter when Bucknell finally made a run.
Trailing 4-3 at the eight-minute mark of the second period, Danylyshyn fired home a low-to-low tracer from about 20 yards out to even the score. Just 61 seconds later, Bailey weaved his way up down the left side of the box before scoring from just off the crease to the left of the goal to put the Bison ahead for the first time.
Penn State tied it on Billy Gribbin's man-up goal, but with 1:36 left in the half Bucknell went ahead to stay when Heritage scored off a nice feed from Bailey. The Bison might have had more than the six first-half goals but they hit the pipe four different times, including three from Bailey.
Bucknell took the first multi-goal lead for either side just eight seconds into the second half on a perfectly executed play off an illegal procedure call on the faceoff. Jake Clarke (Cos Cobb, Conn./Greenwich), who went 9-for-14 at the X, darted off on the restart and slipped a pass over to Klipstein for a 7-5 lead.
That lightning-quick strike would prove to be just about all the offense the rest of the way.
Both goalies were terrific in the second half. Freshman Austin Kaut, who came in with an NCAA-best .667 save percentage, made eight of his 12 saves in the second half for the Lions. Feeney was coming off a seven-save second quarter, and then he posted seven more stops in the final 30 minutes, including a brilliant two-save flurry in the fourth quarter with the Bison protecting a one-goal lead.
Penn State reduced the margin to one with its only second-half goal, a Nick Dolik tally off a Matt Mackrides assist with 5:09 left in the third quarter. But the Bison defense was outstanding. They forced a total of 22 turnovers, including eight in the third quarter and four more in the final period, and allowed only 10 second-half shots.
Long poles Alex Lyons (Owings Mills, Md./Boys' Latin), John Collett (Randolph, N.J./Delbarton), Jason Neithamer (Alexandria, Va./St. Stephen's & St. Agnes), Mike Huffner (Elmira, N.Y./Notre Dame) and Jackson Place (Wayne, Pa./Episcopal Academy) forced the ball to the ground numerous times. That group combined for seven caused turnovers and 13 ground balls.
Bucknell also rode extremely well, holding Penn State to 12-for-21 on clearing situations.
Midway through the fourth period the Bison turned the ball over in the PSU end of the field, but a big check by Clarke and a ground ball by Neithamer gave them possession right back. Inside four minutes to play, Huffner checked a ball loose and Collett came away with the ground ball.
Bucknell struggled to get good looks against the Penn State zone defense down the stretch and turned it over again in a keep-it-in situation with about 90 seconds left. But the Nittany Lions threw the ball away on the clear. Just after the restart, Klipstein scored into an empty net with Kaut out chasing the ball with 1:19 to play.
Once again armed with a two-goal lead, Clarke cleanly won the faceoff and the Bison killed some clock. Kaut came out to knock away a pass, but Feeney made one final save on Gavin Ahern in the final seconds to preserve the win.
Bucknell finished with a 36-25 shot advantage, marking the seventh straight game in which the team has outshot its opponent by more than 10. The Bison won the ground ball battle 38-28 and went 15-for-17 on clears. Both teams were 2-for-4 with a man advantage.
This was the seventh straight meeting between Bucknell and Penn State decided by two goals or less. The Bison have won four of those games, including the last two.
The Bison have nothing but Patriot League games remaining in the regular season, beginning Saturday with their home finale against Holy Cross at 3 p.m. Now 6-0 at home this season, Bucknell will celebrate Senior Day prior to Saturday's game against the Crusaders.