Even though they will not see Colonial Athletic Association post-season action, Penn State University, used its last CAA rival matchup with a vengeance defeating number 12 Hofstra 8-7 in University Park.
With the loss, Hofstra, the number one seed in the CAA, drops to 10-4 overall and breaks its perfect record in the CAA to 4-1. The win allowed Penn State to improve to 7-6 on the year, 3-2 in the CAA.
“This team has provided us with a lot of great moments and today wasn’t one of them,” Head Coach Seth Tierney said.
A few moments the Pride don’t look to remember include two Penn State goals, one of them being an own goal to increase the Nittany Lions lead to 8-5 with 12:10 left to go in the third quarter.
“Finn Sullivan, he wanted to just kick it back to Chris Selva and Chris maybe just misread it,” Coach Tierney said about the Mike Sutton goal just before the half. “Just two guys who have been making plays for us all year long and Anthony Zappone throws it over Selva’s head and it ends up in the goal.”
Penn State dominated possessions from the start and opened scoring with back-to-back goals from Sutton to give the Nittany Lions the 2-0 lead and put Hofstra back on its heels. Hofstra junior Mike Malave ended the run followed by Hofstra senior Lance Yapor on the man up with the assist from sophomore Sam Llinares.
In the second, Penn State dominated outscoring the Pride 4-2. PSU’s Shane Sturgis had a hat trick in the first three minutes of the second quarter to fire up the Nittany Lions and take the 5-2 lead. Hofstra capitalized on the extra-man with a goal from senior Torin Varn followed by an even-strength goal from Drew Coholan but Penn State’s Sutton netted his third of the game to make it 6-4 as insurance for the Nittany Lions heading into halftime.
After the break, Hofstra sophomore Korey Hendrickson scored to cut the deficit to one off of a pass from Malave. Sutton answered right back for Penn State with his fourth of the game and 13th of the season. After that, Penn State stayed aggressive while Hofstra was trying to clear the ball forcing Zappone to throw it back to Selva and into Hofstra’s own net for the own goal.
At that point Hofstra tried to come back with two more goals but would be one short of the Nittany Lions’ eight and earn its first CAA loss of the season.
On a positive note, Hofstra went 2-2 on the extra-man while Penn State went 0-4. The Nittany Lions outshot the Pride 31-26 and picked up 23 ground balls to Hofstra’s 20. Both teams were even at the faceoff x winning 9-of-18 faceoffs.
“We share in the blame,” Coach Tierney said. “We didn’t put our best game out there today, we need to regroup and get ready for the first round of the CAA.”
The Pride will face the University of Delaware 7 pm at home on Wednesday as the first seed in the CAA tournament. It will be Hofstra’s first CAA tournament appearance since the 2010-11 season.