The Penn State men's ice hockey team lost a heartbreaker to 15th-ranked Union, 5-4, Sunday night at the Pegula Ice Arena.
Daniel Ciampini scored the winning goal for the Dutchmen with three seconds remaining in the game. He beat Penn State defenseman David Thompson, then, facing Eamon McAdam one-on-one, punched a shot past the Nittany Lion goalie stick side.
It happened so fast that Ciampini said afterward he was "still trying to figure it out. I didn't know how much time was left, saw the goalie poke check and slid it in."
Ciampini gave credit to Thompson, pointing out that the freshman defenseman had his number a couple of times earlier in the night.
Nittany Lion head coach Guy Gadowsky said Thompson played a great game and shouldn't feel as though the decisive goal was his fault.
Playing in front of 5,177 fans in the final home game of the calendar year - a game that was delayed 15 minutes after a fire alarm sounded - Penn State allowed leads of two and three goals to slip away.
After taking a 2-0 lead in the first period on power play goals by Zach Saar and Luke Juha, the Nittany Lions (3-7-1) let the Dutchmen (8-3-2) back into the game during the second period.
Just over six minutes into the second period, Dutchman Mike Vecchione scored a power play goal to cut the Nittany Lion lead in half.
Penn State responded with two goals of its own just a couple of minutes apart. Eric Scheid scored the Nittany Lions' third goal 10 minutes, 18 seconds into the second period, and David Glen added a shorthanded goal - his first goal of the season - at 11:43.
However, costly penalties allowed the Dutchmen to get within one before the period ended. Both the second and third goals for Union were off power plays. Shayne Gostisbehere, a Philadelphia Flyers draft pick in 2012, scored them both.
"We stuck together and played hard," Gostisbehere said. "We knew there was still a lot of hockey to be played when they went up 4-1."
Matt Hatch tied the score at four goals apiece 6:49 into the third period.
Gadowsky said that his team started to look tight and nervous in the third period and was not making plays it had made earlier in the game.
"We are a young program with young experience," he said. "You get maturity by losing games in the last second, battling and winning games, but we have limited experience against teams like that."
The Nittany Lions will look to get more experience when they open Big Ten play on Friday at Wisconsin. The game is set for 8 p.m. in Madison.