Penn State Dominates to Hand No. 1 Denver First Loss
DALLAS — Ryan Keenan had three goals and two assists and TJ Sanders scored twice with a pair of assists to lead Penn State to a 15-10 victory over No. 1 Denver on Saturday afternoon at the Patriot Cup at Southern Methodist University, the defending NCAA champions' first loss of 2016.
Nine players had a point for Penn State, which took the lead for good early in the second quarter and pulled away with a 6-0 run in the third and fourth quarters. The loss broke a 20-game win streak for Denver (7-1), which last lost on March 14 of last season against Ohio State.
Dan Craig (three goals), Grant Ament (two goals, one assist), Kevin Hill (one goal, two assists), Matt Florence (two goals) and Nick Aponte (two assists) joined Keenan and Sanders in multi-point efforts for Penn State, which improved to 6-3 with the victory, its second win over a Top 10 team in March after defeating then-No. 6 Harvard two weeks ago.
The win was Penn State's first over a top-ranked team in program history.
Will Schreiner earned the victory in net with six saves as the Nittany Lions outshot Denver 33-26, including a 12-4 advantage in a 4-1 third quarter.
Another key for Penn State was Billy Lombardi's 13-for-28 day at the X. Denver sophomore Trevor Baptiste entered the contest fourth in Division I, winning nearly 70 percent of his draws, so battling just shy of evenly helped keep the Pioneers away from going on a run of their own.
"I think there are two sides to this, number one is just being very proud of the way our guys prepared coming out of last week's disappointing loss [11-9 to UMass] and just preparing the way they did showed great resiliency this week and great discipline throughout the course of today," Penn state coach Jeff Tambroni said. "But there is another side of perspective to this and that's our guys and our team needs to keep coming out of this, it was a week ago we lost one game and now we're coming off a very exciting win."
Junior Connor Cannizzaro led Denver in scoring with three goals and a helper for his 21st hat trick and the 24th four-point game of his career. Senior Jack Bobzien was Denver's only other multi-goal scorer of the afternoon for Denver.
Penn State has a tough stretch ahead, opening Big Ten play at Ohio State next week, with Maryland and Johns Hopkins to follow. Denver travels to Georgetown next Saturday to open its Big East schedule.
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