Penn State Claims National Championship
Penn State 6 Central Florida 2
Posted: April 11, 2010 11:37AM; Updated: April 12, 2010 11:16PMby Richard Graham
San Jose, CA - In a B Division elimination game, UC Santa
Barbara defeated West Chester, 3-2, in overtime, despite being outshot
34 to 26. During the game, Michigan State coach Frank Caliguri gave an
axle to Gauchos’ forward Bobby Burns, who scored the winning goal in
overtime, and as the Santa Barbara players came off the rink after the
game, several yelled, “We love you, coach. Go MSU!”
In the elite eight, Penn State shut down St.
Charles Community College, 4,-0; before dispatching Lindenwood, 8-3, in
the final four. That set up a championship match up with the Central
Florida Knights. The Knights had closer games on their way to the
final, holding off Arizona State by a score of 5-3 before squeezing
past the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, 4-3.
In the championship final, Penn State drew first
blood at 9:34 of the first period on a power play after Central
Florida’s John Duhe was sent off for tripping. It was the second period
where the Nittany Lions took over, scoring four straight goals, two by
Jesse Patnesky. At the beginning of the third, Penn State’s Jason
Bogert made it a 6-0 lead just 32 seconds in. The Knights scored two
quick goals, at 4:38 and 4:53, making it 6-2, but it was too little,
too late, and that’s how the game ended.
“The game plan didn’t work,” said Knights’
defenseman Craig Hughes, a freshman. “They came out with the box, they
came out strong, and we couldn’t score. They didn’t tire us out; we
just couldn’t get decent shots off. We were taking shots from the point
and we couldn’t get them through. They’re a great team. There’s not
much we can do about it. We played a great tournament. We had a great
season; we played a lot of DII and upper-level teams. We came in
strong, we played our best, and we got as far as we could.”
“In pool play, we weren’t doing so well, so we
had a meeting right before the elimination round started,” said Penn
State Coach Bryan Ollendyke, who captained the team the previous three
years. “We changed our system completely, changed up our lines, and we
threw a completely different look at every team that was here; no one
knew how to read us. Fortunately, they didn’t pick it up in this game,
Ollendyke gave props to Penn State’s veteran players.
“The senior class this year has been huge –
Bryan Reel, Eric Kleinberg, Jason Bogert… and Jesse Patnesky,
especially,” Ollendyke said. “He’s the offense, by far. We stuck to a
system; we made sure our guys didn’t jump up into the play. We let them
come to us, and they got exhausted. Our whole system was built around
keeping our guys fresh, jumping off turnovers and just took it from
there. We had faith in our scorers that they could pick any goalie.”
“We learned the new system yesterday afternoon
in the hotel,” said Bryan Reel, a Nittany Lion forward. “We played it
against St. Charles, and it worked against Lindenwood and again today.
We kept them to the outside and made sure our goalie could see all the
Lions’ defenseman Jason Bogert said that the three-days of Penn State’s tournament were some of the best days of his life.
“The game against Lindenwood was incredible.
They’re always the top dogs of the league. We were kind of joking
around, saying we were like Team USA [of the 1980 Olympic Games] – beat
the Soviets and take home the gold at the end.”
Comparing Lindenwood to that great Soviet team
was not really a stretch – since the inception of the NCRHA, Lindenwood
B had won every single championship – until this week.
“This was my first season on the team,” said
Penn State’s Nick Sirera. “It’s a pretty big way to go out. It’s
definitely the best time of my life.”
“The B Division teams are here to play,” said
NCRHA tournament staffer Ned Farkas. “They want to win and they want to
play hard, and it’s been fun for them. They also seem to have deeper
benches, so each shift means a whole lot more to each guy. Division I
teams may only have eight or nine guys; these are all showing up with