The Penn State men's ice hockey team killed six power plays, including five in the first period, but the Nittany Lions weren't able to generate enough offense to truly test goalie Thatcher Demko and lost to the U.S. U-18 Team, 3-0, Saturday night at the Greenberg Ice Pavillion.
The Nittany Lions got off only 25 shots in falling to 2-2 in exhibition games this season.
"There was no rhythm to the game," Team USA coach Don Granto said.
Granto said Penn State goalie P.J. Musico played a big role in helping keep the game close. Musico finished with 41 saves, and Team USA was unable to score in the first period even though it outshot Penn State, 19-4.
"Both goaltenders kept the game tight until [USA's] late goal with three and half minutes remaining," Granto said.
Musico said the barrage of first-period shots helped him stay sharp throughout the game. "A power play kill is always good, and it's nice to get more shots [early] from a goalie standpoint. It helps you get into the game," Musico said.
Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky praised his defensive line, which suited up only five players for the two weekend games against Team USA.
The game was scoreless until late in the second period. With 1:45 remaining, Team USA forwards Kevin Labanc and Evan Allen assisted on a goal by forward Sean Malone. Labanc passed the puck across the crease, and Malone tapped it in, giving Musico no chance to make the save.
Despite falling behind, Penn State outshot Team USA, 15-11, in the second period. It was the only period of the two-game weekend series in which the Nittany Lions led in scoring chances.
Forward Michael McCarron fired a shot above Musico's glove hand to score the second goal for Team USA with three and half minutes remaining in the game. The third goal was an empty-netter by forward Evan Allen.
Following the loss, Gadowsky said he saw a lot of positives during the weekend series. One of those positives was the play of Mark Yanis, who was coming off a two-month layoff following an injury.
"Yanis feels good, and the doctors are happy with him," Gadowsky said.
Added sophomore forward Tommy Olczyk, "Yanis might have been a little shaky skating-wise, but having [him] back is huge."
The team returns to action Jan. 15 when it plays host to Neumann University at 7:30 p.m.