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February 9, 2013Defenseman Mark Yanis scored the winning goal in the third period, and Penn State earned its first-ever sweep of a Division I opponent, defeating Alabama Huntsville, 4-3, Saturday night at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion.
The Nittany Lions had shut out the Chargers, 4-0, on Friday in the opening game of what was dubbed the "Independent League Megabowl." Alabama Huntsville is an independent, while Penn State is competing without a conference affiliation in its first season of varsity action.
"I was really, really happy with this win," Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said.
With the victory, Penn State improved to 12-13-0, while Alabama Huntsville fell to 3-19-1.
Penn State jumped out to an early lead when Casey Bailey scored the game's first goal 8 minutes, 45 seconds into the first period. Peter Sweetland passed the puck from the boards to Taylor Holstrom, who crossed it in front of the net to a perfectly wound-up Bailey. It was Bailey's 13th goal of the season, and it lifted the spirits of Gadowsky, who has been bothered at times by the Nittany Lions' penchant for slow starts.
"There is not a coach in the world who doesn't want to score the first goal," Gadowsky said. "It is always nice to score first."
With 9:15 remaining in the second period, David Glen scored his fourth goal of the weekend. Glen put a top-shelf slap shot past Chargers goalie John Griggs on a pass from Bailey.
Alabama Huntsville rallied to tie the score, but Penn State went back ahead, 3-2, on a controversial goal by Glen. Glen collected the puck behind the net and tried to put a wraparound shot past Griggs. Griggs trapped the puck between his pads, but Kenny Brooks poked it in.
Gadowsky said he didn't know whether the puck really did cross the goal line, nor did he want to know.
Alabama Huntsville coach Kurt Kleinendorst was convinced that it wasn't a goal. "I without a doubt believe that it did not go in," he said. "I know that because on video not a single person behind the goal cheered until the referee signaled the goal."
Alabama Huntsville tied the score, 3-3, at the 12:20 mark of the third period. With a lot of traffic in front of Penn State goalie Matt Skoff, Brice Geoffrion was able to score glove side. Anderson White and Graeme Strukoff assisted Geoffrion.
Yanis scored the winning goal for the Nittany Lions with 4:27 remaining in the third period. Taylor Holstrom won the puck on backboards and passed it to a wide open Yanis, who one-timed it past Griggs.
Gadowsky said it was fitting for Yanis to get the goal, as he was one of only four defensemen who dressed for the game for Penn State.
The Nittany Lions were also missing two of their three captains, including Tommy Olczyk. Gadowsky said that Olczyk, who had not missed a game all season, has a rib injury.
Penn State's next game is against Oklahoma at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion.
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