Mens Ice Hockey’s 2nd Appearance in the National Tournament


File Photo

Defenseman Will Tissue breaks the puck out of the zone for the Nittany Lions.

The Harrisburg Lions Hockey team is headed to Iceline in Westchester, Philadelphia to face some of the top teams in the country for the CHF Federation Cup. This is the Nittany Lions 2nd national tournament in only 8 years as a club sport on campus. Cameron Moore, Daniel Yanich, Cade Cartwright, and Will Tissue are the only players who have prior experience in the National Tournament. Their season was however cut short back in the 2019-2020, due the Covid-19 Pandemic. The tournament was canceled right in the middle of their game vs Farmingdale State during the 2nd period intermission. These players are eager to get back on the national stage and the first time players are excited for their first shot at the CHF Federation Cup. They come into the tournament ranked as the number 31 seed in the country and they are the 4th seed in Pool B. The Harrisburg Lions are a huge underdog coming into this tournament as they are the 2nd highest seed in the tournament. They still feel that if they can outwork every team they play, they can have some success and pull off some upsets against some of the top ranked teams in the country. (Head Coach Chris Moore)

 The Harrisburg Lions first game in Pool play was against Farmingdale State. Farmingdale State is ranked as the number 2 team in the nation and top seed in Pool B. Earlier in a regular season showcase Farmingdale beat the Lions 9-5 back on November 19th. The game this time was a lot more of a defensive battle and low scoring game. The  Harrisburg Lions put up a really good fight against a very good opponent. Farmingdale struck first on the scoreboard at the end of the first period with one minute remaing.  The Lions came out hungry and Sophomore Forward Benjamin Osborne Scored a huge goal at the beginning of the 2nd period to tie the game up at 1 goal a piece. Farmingdale would soon answer back with a quick goal of their own from forward Matthew Hawkins. The Farmingdale State Rams would pull away in the 3rd period and eventually end up winning the game 4-1 despite the Hard working game by the Harrisburg Lions and their solid goaltending performance. Vaughn Hennessey earned the player of the game with his 32 save performance on 36 shots faced.

 The Nittany Lions schedule wont get much easier as their next opponent was St Bonaventure who was the number 15 team in the country. The Bonnies would look to win their second game of pool play as they defeated ECU in their first game 9-4. The Harrisburg Lions started off the game very well as their goaltending looked very solid once again. Logan Hanke made some big saves early for his saves for his team as the Bonnies were the early pressure on him. The Nittany Lions would survive the early flurry of chances and forward Cameron Moore would open the scoring on a breakaway about halfway through the first period. The Harrisburg Lions would hold that lead up until over 3 minutes left in the 1st period where forward Jack Kernitz would tie the game up at 1 goal a piece. It was a very promising period for both teams. St Bonaventure would come hot in the 2nd scoring 2 quick goals in 2 minutes of play. Midway through the 2nd period another key player from their lineup would get injured on the back end. We later on got the news that defenseman Kyle Jenkins would suffer from a torn Ac Ligament in the shoulder. The Bonnies did not look back from there as they would add 3 more goals in the period and 3 more goals in the 3rd period of play. It was a disappointing loss for the harrisburg lions after playing so hard against the top team in their Pool.

Goaltender Logan Hanek Dialed In during warmups
(File Photo)

The last game of their season was against a physical East Carolina team that was ranked number 18 in the country. As expected both teams came out physically looking for their first wins of the tournament. Ecu jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal from Forward Drew Kiriloff. Midway through the 2nd period Penn State Harriburg forward Christian Holtzapple crashed the net hard, resulting in a scrum behind the ECU net. Defenseman Christopher Deperno and forward Christian Holtzapple would go to the box for 12 minutes each for fighting. That seemed to fuel Ecu and they would score less than a minute later and then add 2 more goals in the 3rd period. The final score would go on to be a 6-1 win for ECU and the end of both of the teams seasons. Despite the 3 losses in the natty tournament the Harrisburg Lions had a lot to be proud of this season. They battled some very key injuries throughout the whole season and key players that transferred at the end of the first semester. This team did not throw in the towel despite the young team they finished their season with. They finished their season with an overall record of 13-15-3.