With a tough two-day turnaround after a hard-fought weekend series, the Penn State men's ice hockey team struggled to find its groove Tuesday night and lost to Neumann University, 3-2, in overtime at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion.
Coach Guy Gadowsky said his team wasn't mentally tough at the beginning of the game and did not come out ready to play.
"I am extremely disappointed that we came out that way," he said.
Gadowsky was unhappy that the Nittany Lions (8-12) allowed Neumann (10-4-2) to set the tempo. "We have a real tendency not to dictate games," he said.
The Lions' lack of focus was evident right from the start, as they surrendered a goal to Neumann's Chris Bournazos just 20 seconds into the game. A pass by Jordan Zalba allowed Bournazos to one-time it past Penn State's outstretched goalie, PJ Musico.
Neumann coach Dominick Dawes said the quick goal energized his team, which had traveled to Happy Valley earlier in the day.
The teams then battled for the rest of the first period, with Penn State outshooting Neumann 10-4.
The game began to resemble Penn State's effort against the U.S. National U-18 Team on Friday night, in which it trailed by two goals less than five minutes into the second period. This time, however, the Lions were hurt by an own goal, with the credit given to Neumann's Sather D'Lane.
The Nittany Lions eventually refocused and started to play with the intensity Gadowsky wanted. They tied the score in the second period on goals by forward Casey Bailey and David Glen.
Bailey's score came with just over 10 minutes left in the period. He was pleased with the teamwork that produced the goal but was disappointed in the loss. "We started lackadaisical and tightened in the second, but we are not happy," he said.
Glen's goal, with a little over six minutes left in the second period, was a result of multiple rebounds given up by Neumann's goalie, Ben Curley. Glen was able to punch in the puck after Kenny Brooks took a couple of shots.
The third period was frustrating for Penn State. The Lions outshot Neumann 21-1 but were unable to score the winner.
Neumann's Jon Low scored to end the game with just 57 seconds left in overtime, capitalizing on a free-for-all in front of the net with multiple Neumann players near the crease.
The Nittany Lions will return to the ice at 8 p.m. Saturday against Vermont at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.