In a rematch of last month's Three Rivers Classic final, second-ranked Boston College defeated Penn State, 3-2, Saturday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
The Nittany Lions fared much better than in the earlier game - an 8-2 Boston College victory - but still came away feeling dissatisfied. Had they not been skating shorthanded for seven minutes in the third period due to a major penalty, the outcome might have been different.
"We are very proud of certain aspects of our performance. That is the best offensive team in the nation by a lot," head coach Guy Gadowksy said after watching his team fall to 4-15-1. "But I am disappointed we had one-goal game again and we take a major. I don't know how many times we have to learn that lesson. It's getting a little redundant."
Jonathan Milley was called for a boarding major with 4 minutes, 6 seconds gone in the third period. Less than 30 seconds after the penalty was called, Kevin Hayes scored for Boston College. It was Hayes' second goal of the night, and it proved to be the winner for the Eagles, who improved to 18-4-3.
"It comes down to being a smart hockey player, knowing how much time is left in the game, knowing the situation, up a goal down a goal. Last weekend and this weekend were great instances not very smart hockey plays," captain Tommy Olczyk said. "It was probably not the reason we lost the game, but it definitely took away from our ability to win the game."
Freshman goalie Eamon McAdam turned in another strong effort for the Nittany Lions, finishing with 27 saves, including a couple of diving glove saves. As a team, Penn State outshot Boston College 35-30.
One key sequence for the Nittany Lions came with about 13:30 left in the third period. McAdam lost his stick for about 15 seconds, but the puck was cleared out of the zone for a breakaway. Taylor Holstrom put it behind the glove-side shoulder of Boston College goalie Thatcher Demko to bring the Nittany Lions within one goal. But even after pulling McAdam for an extra attacker late in the game, they weren't able to get the tying goal.
The Eagles started the scoring on a goal by Hayes just over seven minutes into the first period.
Eric Scheid scored Penn State's first goal with 6:45 gone in the second period. Taking advantage of the commotion in front of Demko, Scheid kept crashing the net and eventually pushed the puck past the line.
Boston College's Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold teamed up to break the tie on a two-on-one with Nittany Lion Luke Juha. Gaudreau kept the puck low and scored on McAdam's glove side with 3:56 to go in the second period.
Olczyk had a chance to tie the score on a penalty shot midway through the third period. The sold-out crowd was on its feet, but Demko was there to make the stop and maintain Boston College's lead.
Gadowsky said his team played well in the defensive zone, something it didn't do in its lopsided loss to Boston College in December.
"I was feeling pretty good until taking that major," he said. "McAdam had a good performance, but we have to get him his first win."
McAdam is winless in his eight-game college career.
Penn State was without sophomore forward David Glen, who missed the game due to his participation in a bone marrow donation program. Glen, an assistant captain, found out he was a match through the Be The Match donation program, and he began the five-day nonsurgical donation process on Friday at Geisinger-Bloomsburg (Pa.) Hospital.
Glen will also miss the Nittany Lions' two-game series at Ohio State next weekend. The first of those two games is set to begin at 7:05 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31.