Entering today’s matchup, the Hoyas (2-0; 1-0) knew that this, their first ECAC game of the year, would be a test of both their skill and endurance, and it proved to be nothing less. Much like the way Georgetown opened up when playing Cornell on March 2nd, the first half showcased a stagnated offense and unsettled defense that, while controlling the ball, were unable to take advantage of opportunities, giving the Nittany Lions of Penn State (1-2; 0-1) the early lead. After being down two goals at the end of the first quarter and a single goal lead at the end of the half, the Hoyas turned up the intensity on both ends of the field and forced Penn State to relinquish the lead for the remainder of the contest. The play of junior middie Walid Hajj deserves much of the credit for the victory, but as Hajj noted after the game it was truly a “team effort” and gave much credit to the success of face-off man Andy Corno and the Hoya defense.
The game stared off with Georgetown controlling the ball for the first half of the first quarter, but within that time span they only successfully netted one goal which came from the efforts of Walid Hajj. This, his first of four goals, was an unassisted strike which appeared to surprise Nittany Lion netminder Chris Garrity. Although the first quarter continued without Penn State controlling the pace of play (or the ball for that matter) they were able to net four of the next five goals before the quarter drew to a close. The first in this string of goals came from the senior attackman Luke Ogelsby off a feed from starting midfielder Rob Booth. Although Penn State was stifled on the ensuing man-up situation by the talented Hoya defense, freshman Chris Gannett was able to slip by the defending long pole and avoid a late slide to sneak one by D’Andrea. Georgetown again controlled the ball and after a failed attempt by the Georgetown offense to score, Hajj again made a big play by picking up a groundball after a broken clear and scoring his second of the day. With the game knotted at 2 and only minutes left in the first quarter, Penn State was able to add two tallies in the last minute of play. The fist came unassisted from captain Marshall Feldman with :52 left and the second from Elliot Jones as time expired. This gave the Nittany Lions a 4-2 lead and momentum going into the second quarter of play.
The second quarter allowed Georgetown to cut the deficit to one in part by the excellent play of D’Andrea in only his second varsity game as a Hoya. The first score of the second quarter belonged to Georgetown as Hajj drove hard to the left and as he switched hands he painted the backside pipe with his stick in his right. Hajj’s goal was followed up by Georgetown’s Nick Miaritis’ hard shot that found the back of the net with 2:41 left in the half and again tied the game. Penn State responded less than 30 seconds later when the long stick defenseman Mike Bateman found Mike Bailey on a slow break to again take the lead for Penn State. Like the first quarter there would be another two goals in the last minute of play, with the first coming as Penn State’s Feldman netted his second of the game, but was followed by Georgetown’s Andy Corno. The Hoya’s Corno picked up the groundball off the face off and bounced the shot, tucking it underneath the crossbar. Those :07 were consistent with the effort that Corno put in throughout the day. The half closed and the Nittany Lions led 6-5.
With a new half came a new Hoya squad. Although they still retained possession much like the first half, there shots began to fall and they found a six goal streak that led into the fourth quarter. The first came from senior tri-captain Mike Hammer and continued with Hajj’s fourth goal of the game at the 8:33 mark. After A Penn State penalty, Georgetown realized that they didn’t have enough men on the field and called a time-out. After calling for that break, they netted the fourth goal in a row as Phil Vincenti scored on Trevor Walker’s laser feed across the crease and through Penn State traffic. The Hoyas didn’t let up as Hammer and Vincenti each netted another goal, the latter coming with only :05 left in the third.
The Hoya’s final goal came five minutes into the fourth quarter behind the efforts of Neil Goldman. This game them an 11-6 lead and all but shut out the hopes of an intense Penn State quad. But they were not to be discounted quite yet. The three final goals of the game came from Penn State, with two of them coming on extra-man opportunities. The first two came from John Eremus, the former coming on one of the two extra-man opportunities, while the final goal came from the starting freshman Nate Whitaker, but with only :48 to play there efforts proved to fall short.
This was a game that was won because of the Hoya’s efforts on all parts of the field. The offense’s ability to control the ball tired out the Penn State defense and the Hoya’s defense looked like it was mid-season during the second half of this game. Walid Hajj and Andy Corno stepped up on the offensive side of the ball while Pat Collins and Kyle Sweeney fulfilled their duties in getting their offensive weapons the ball. Entering the season their was some question as to who would fill the shoes of Georgetown graduate Scott Schroeder between the pipes, but Georgetown fans were pleasantly surprised by the success of Rich D’Andrea as he played solid in the cage and played smart while clearing the ball and anchoring his all-American defense. Kyle echoed this consensus by giving “credit to Rich for playing like a veteran.”
Penn State will be home March 11 as they take on the Bull Dogs of Yale, while the Hoyas will take advantage of their spring break to take on Hobart in San Antonio in March 11.
|Walid Hajj||(4, 0)|
|Neal Goldman||(1, 2)|
|Phil Vincenti||(2, 0)|
|Mike Hammer||(2, 0)|
|Andy Corno||(1, 0)|
|Brice Queener||(0, 1)|
|Nick Miaritis||(1, 0)|
|Rich D'andrea||8 (0.471)|