In front of a record crowd of 1,619, junior goaltender Kevin Carr and the Buffalo State men’s
hockey team posted a 3-0 victory over Division I Penn State University Friday night at the
Buffalo State Ice Arena.
“We were pumped up,” sophomore forward Nick Melligan said. “The crowd gave us a big edge.
We wanted to be intense. We wanted to show [Penn State] what Bengals’ hockey was all about.”
Carr earned the game’s top star as he posted his fifth career shutout with a 35-save performance
to help seal the Bengals’ first win of the season.
“[The shutout] was just icing on the cake,” Carr said. “I’m proud to get the win and that’s the
most important thing, but I’m glad I could finish it off and it’s something I’ll remember for the
rest of my life.”
Melligan said that the win meant a little more because of the shutout.
“The way [Carr] played, he deserved that more than anything,” Melligan said. “He’s always
there for us.”
Despite the victory, there was much concern for Bengals junior forward Taylor McGraw, who
took a hit and was taken off the ice on a stretcher toward the end of the second period.
“It appeared that he was hooked, and then contacted after he was hooked, so he was kind of
drawn off-balance,” said head coach Nick Carriere. “He was in a vulnerable position and that’s
when he was hit.
With the lengthy injury delay and 3:11 remaining on the clock, the officials sent the teams to the
locker rooms, adding the three minutes on to the third period.
“We were concerned, but we knew that Taylor would want us to keep going,” Melligan said. “He
would want us to finish the game out...and not let that injury go to waste.”
The Bengals held on despite a late effort from Penn State (1-2), which involved pulling
goaltender Matthew Skoff for an extra attacker with over three minutes remaining.
The scoreless third period solidified the win and Buffalo State opened its season with a victory
for the first time in over five years.
It was the first shutout for the Bengals since Nov. 8, 2011 when they defeated Cortland 8-0, a
game in which McGraw scored his first collegiate goal.
With a combined 83 penalty minutes, both teams played aggressive.
“There were a lot of emotions out there tonight,” junior forward Mike Zannella said. “We played
a nice, physical, hard-nosed game and that’s what we had to do to win.”
Bengals’ freshman forward Cory Gurski was ejected from the game in the third period after a
charging penalty and illegal contact to the head. Penn State’s Joseph Lordo was also ejected
earlier in the game.
There were altercations multiple times after the play was blown dead and Carriere said it was
unfortunate to see that happen.
“There’s a lot of stuff that went on after the whistle,” Carriere said. “They shot pucks after the
whistle on three opportunities. “We had a bunch of scrums out there. You have two teams that
are battling hard and things happen. It’s hockey. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
The Bengals took advantage of Penn State penalties, scoring three power play goals on 11
attempts while the Nittany Lions went 0-9 with the man advantage.
“Our power play was good, but our penalty kill was even better,” Zannella said. “Our guys did a
great job killing and blocking shots and that’s what we need to win.”
The Nittany Lions controlled the opening period as Buffalo State struggled to get the puck out of
its own zone. Penn State had 19 shots in the first frame to the Bengals’ seven, but it was Buffalo
State that had the lead heading into the intermission.
“The first part of the first period they really took it to us and I think our nerves were getting to
us more than anything,” Zannella said. “That’s the most people we have played in front of in this
Melligan’s power-play goal with 3:27 remaining in the opening period proved to be the game-
winner. Melligan also added an assist on the night.
“It was a team effort,” Melligan said. “It wasn’t just me. It was 60 minutes of Carr standing on
his head, as always, the defense playing well and our freshmen stepping up. It was a great team
Zannella and senior forward Trevor McKinney each scored in the second period to close out the
Bengals’ scoring. Junior defenseman Anthony Orange had a pair of assists.
“Any win gives you a little bit of momentum, but especially this one because it was such a big
deal for us,” Carr said. “We can’t wait to get back to work.”
When asked to describe the game in one word, Carriere responded with, “Passionate.”
“I think we had a certain way that we wanted to play,” Carriere said. “I think we did a pretty
good job of playing that way, in just kind of a simple way where we wanted to be physical.”
The teams will meet again Nov. 3 at Penn State.
“They’re going to think they owe us one,” Melligan said. “They’re going to have their crowd just
as loud as ours, but we have to show up just like we did tonight.”
Before that happens, the Bengals will continue their season-opening home-stand with games
against Brockport at 7 p.m. Friday and Geneseo at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Kevin Freiheit can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.