By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
Penn State coach Jeff Tambroni, a former teammate of Bucknell coach Frank Fedorjaka at Hobart College, was looking for a little more emotion from his team Tuesday at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.
The Nittany Lions were playing their sixth ranked opponent of the year, having beaten two of the previous five. Tambroni noted there were lapses that cost his team in the losses.
Penn State had no lapses Tuesday, defeating Bucknell 11-3 and snapping the Bison’s seven-game win streak.
T.J. Sanders tallied four goals, while Tom LaCrosee had a hat tick for Penn State (6-3). The NIttany Lions last won against Bucknell in 2009, in a one-goal game at Penn State.
Bucknell, which fell to 8-2, got single goals from Todd Heritage, Brock Ghelfi and Chase Bailey. Three goals were a season-low for the Bison.
“We had a couple of breakdowns defensively, things that we pride ourselves on, and we didn’t execute offensively,” Fedorjaka said. “We loss a stretch of face-offs (Penn State was 4-for-4 in the third quarter) and that got our defense tired as we slide early and that keeps our guys moving.”
Sanders, a freshman, scored two goals in a span of 50 seconds in the second quarter. The game was tied at 3 at halftime.
Sanders scored the go-ahead just four minutes into the third quarter on an even-strength goal.
“We had not been playing with a lot of emotion at times this year,” Tambroni said. “We’ve played Bucknell pretty close these last couple of years and our game plan was to try and hold it to a 8-7, 7-6 type of game.”
Penn State goalie Austin Kaut made 14 saves, while Kyle Feeney made six saves for the Bison.
Penn State outscored the Bison 8-1 in the second half, 5-0 in the fourth quarter. Penn State won 10 of the 17 faceoffs and tied the Bison with 28 ground balls.
“I give Coach Fedorjaka a lot of credit as they have a great defense and goalie and he’s starting three freshmen in the offensive zone,” Tambroni added.
The Bison had trouble getting shooting lanes all night as Penn State kept switching from a zone to man-to-man coverage against a team averaging 11.7 goals-per-game.
“Their on-ball defense was very good,” Fedorjaka noted. “It was hard to drive and get double teams to get someone open.”
The Bison were ranked as high as seventh at the end of the 2011 season.
“We lost games that we shouldn’t have like Mount Saint Mary’s,” Fedorjaka continued. “We play like underdogs, but we had never been ranked this high. We didn’t play like underdogs.”
Bucknell had the ball in the Lions’ offensive end with 15 seconds left in the first half with a chance to take a one-goal lead but they did not get a shot.
Two of the three Bison goals came on man-up situations.
Heritage notched his 24th goal of the season at 12:05 of the first for a 1-0 lead. Bailey put Bucknell up 2-1 with his 19th goal at 13:35 of the second, and Gherkin’s goal at 12:45 of the third broke the 2-all tie.
“We tried to get the lead back in one offensive possession, we were just too impatient on offense,” Fedorjaka added. “Even after it was 3-3 and even after they went up 5-3, I still thought we were in it. Both goalies played really well.”
Bucknell was without freshman attackman Sean Doyle who was sidelined with an injury from the Cornell game. Through eight games, Doyle had 10 goals and 15 assists.
The Bison return to Patriot League play on Saturday when they host Holy Cross at 1.