Union hockey falls to Penn State in NCAA Regional Semifinal

Photo: Union Athletics

CINCINNATI, OH — Penn State scored seven unanswered goals en route to a 10-3 win against the Union College men’s hockey team in the NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinal, Saturday evening at the US Bank Arena.

The Nittany Lions (25-11-2) will face top-seed Denver in the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship game on Sunday. Union ends their season at 25-10-3.

Spencer Foo scored a pair of goals, producing his 20th multi-point game, and Brendan Taylor netted his second of the season. In goal, Alex Sakellaropoulos made 18 saves on 25 shots over 46 minutes, while Jake Kupsky made five saves on eight shots in 14 minutes of relief.

After 11 scoreless minutes to open the game, the two teams combined for four goals in 2:45.

Penn State struck first when Brendan Biro tipped in a feed from Chase Berger at 11:05. Berger won a battle on the boards in the Union zone and quickly fed Biro, who guided the puck home.

Taylor answered the Dutchmen 67 seconds later, collecting a pass from Michael Pontarelli in the low slot and spinning to his forehand before sliding a shot past Penn State goaltender Peyton Jones (22 saves). Zachary Emelifeonwu also registered an assist on the goal for his second career point.

Berger put the Nittany Lions back in front at 13:26 with a redirection on a Biro shot from the point, but Foo notched his first of the game just 24 seconds later.

Maier jostled the puck free behind the Penn State net and quickly picked out Foo alone in front, who sent a one-timer in off the right post for his 25th of the season.

The Nittany Lions came out quickly in the second, taking a 3-2 just 1:59 into the frame. Kris Myllari unloaded a one-timer that from the point that found its way through traffic, beating Sakellaropoulos high on the glove side.

Again Union battled back, tying the game at 3-3 at 7:54 on Foo’s second of the game. Vecchione sent a pass to Vidmar down low, who in turn slid the puck to Foo at the far post. Foo received the feed and drove back across the front of the net before tucking a shot inside the right post.

Penn State remained unphased, however, opening its first two-goal lead before the end of the period. Berger tallied his second of the day at 9:35, finishing off a backdoor pass from Blake Gorber, and Dylan Richard scored on a rebound at 14:13 to make it 5-3 heading into the final stanza.

Nate Sucese extended the advantage at 1:10 of the third, pouncing on a rebound in the slot after Sakellaropoulos kicked away David Goodwin’s initial shot. Dennis Smirnov pushed it to 7-3 with his 18th of the season, firing a wrist shot into the top corner from the left circle.

Nikita Pavlychev scored a power-play goal at 7:52 and Andrew Sturtz potted a shorthanded goal at 14:58. Nate Sucese capped the scoring at 17:10.

Penn State outshot Union 33-25 and finished 1-for-1 with the man advantage, while the Dutchmen were 1-for-3.

It’s the end of the road for Union.

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