The No. 7 Blue Jays fell to the No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions 14-12 on a sunny Saturday afternoon in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions snapped the Blue Jays’ seven-game win streak in front of a home crowd of over 2,000 at Panzer Stadium.
Junior Nick Spillane of Penn State proved to be too much for the Blue Jays, as he finished the game with two goals and a game-high five assists. The Nittany Lions had eight different players score in their 14-12 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday.
Sophomore attacker Cole Williams opened the scoring for the Blue Jays just over a minute into the game. For the Jays, who have previously been plagued by slow starts, the strong start was key. Senior midfielder Joel Tinney also contributed to the Jays’ scoring, trading goals with Penn State before the Nittany Lions went on a four-goal run. After this run, Penn State never relinquished the lead.
Tinney finished the game with two goals and three assists. Tallying the points in Saturday’s game, Tinney reached the 100-point mark in his career thus far. He also has a 17-game point streak, which is now the longest on the team. Senior attacker Shack Stanwick had to leave the game due to an injury before he could register a point, snapping his streak of 58 consecutive games with a point.
Tinney discussed the significance of the team’s Big Ten games going forward.
“It is definitely exciting, but I came into this game for only one thing, and that was a win. These next games mean even more now,” he said.
The Blue Jays came out of halftime looking at a five-goal deficit, by a score of 10-5. It was the fourth straight game where the Blue Jays were either trailing or tied heading into the second half. They hoped to once again bounce back with a strong second half to try and secure their eighth straight victory.
The Jays came out firing to chip away at the lead. Senior midfielder Patrick Fraser added two goals in the third and finished the game with three goals in total. Williams also added another goal in the third quarter.
“People need to step up now, especially the upperclassmen who have experience down stretches like these.” Fraser said.
With over three minutes left in the third quarter, the Jays brought down the lead to 11-8. After only allowing one goal in the third quarter so far, the Blue Jays let up two goals with six seconds left in the quarter that brought the lead back to five goals.
Hopkins brought the lead within three, as the score read 13-10 early in the fourth quarter. The Jays cut down the deficit, bringing the score to 14-12 with about five minutes left in the game, but that was the closest Hopkins got to overcoming the Nittany Lions.
Senior goalkeeper Brock Turnbaugh came out with another solid effort on Saturday by leading his defense with 12 saves. Senior face-off specialist Hunter Moreland also had an impressive showing, winning 11 out of the 29 face-offs that were taken.
Hopkins finished the game with 10 turnovers and four face-off violations. Hopkins was also given one extra-man opportunity the whole game, which they failed to convert on. The Blue Jays have posted a 35 percent average over the last 12 games on extra-man opportunities. Look for the Blue Jays to clean these numbers up in practice this week before they face the University of Michigan in another Big Ten battle this weekend.
The Blue Jays are now 8-3 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten. These next games are very important for Big Ten seedings and a bid into the NCAA Tournament.
The Blue Jays will return to action this Saturday, April 21 when they travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. to face the Michigan Wolverines at noon.