Penn State men’s hockey forward Christian Sarlo’s Saturday night could have been defined by a controversial play.
During the second period of Saturday’s game against Notre Dame, Sarlo appeared to get tripped near Notre Dame’s wide open net. This disrupted a big scoring opportunity with Penn State down 2-1.
With plenty of game left, the play motivated Sarlo.
”I think that when you see a chance like that happen, you get just an extra step,” Sarlo told reporters after the game. “Not necessarily because he tripped me but just seeing that you get a chance like that I think kind of sparked me a little bit more.”
He’d get another big chance.
Fast forward to the third period.
The team’s were tied at two and it looked likely that the next goal would be the winner.
It’s a mouth-watering situation for athletes. For Penn State and Notre Dame on this night, whoever scored the game-winner would do it in front of the largest crowd in Pegula Ice Arena history.
“I think there’s always some extra motivation with White Out weekend,” Sarlo said. “We know the atmosphere somehow gets better than it already is every game.”
The visiting team had a chance to quiet the crowd.
The home team had a chance to send it into a frenzy.
The latter took place, and Sarlo was the one who made it happen.
He took a pass from Xander Lamppa and slipped the puck through Notre Dame goalie Ryan Bischel’s five-hole.
You could feel the momentum shifting and Christian Sarlo gives Penn State a 3-2 lead. pic.twitter.com/9YsQveNOSy
— Justin Ciavolella (@jciavolella76) January 22, 2023
His night will now be remembered not for a controversial no-call, but a game-winning goal at 14:33 of the third period.
Penn State hung on for a 3-2 win, and Sarlo talked about his big moment with media afterward.
“That was pretty spur of the moment,” Sarlo said. “(Lamppa) got it around and I kind of let it go to Lamps.
”I had a feeling he was going to give it back to me, and then, when I went to stuff it, I tried to just make it look like I was going far side and just (tried to) sneak it into the five hole. It snuck through.”
Sarlo kept fighting after the no-call, and Penn State kept plugging away as a team. Despite outshooting Notre Dame 45-29 for the night, Penn State never led until there were less than six minutes left.
In the series opener, Penn State outshot Notre Dame 53-24 and lost, 2-1.
Penn State hockey coach Guy Gadowsky was pleased with how his team played both nights, and told reporters after the game that keeping up with what it had been doing was key to getting a positive result in the series finale.
“We played very very well last night and it wasn’t a matter of we had to change this or that,” Gadowsky said. “It was just ‘keep doing what we do and believe that it’s going to go in,’ and I think that’s exactly what you saw.”