The Towson offense's recent problems continued Saturday night against Penn State.
The Tigers averaged more than 12 goals during a recent five-game winning streak. But they have scored just six goals in the last two games, including an 8-3 loss to No. 11 Penn State before an announced 2,425 Saturday night atJohnny UnitasStadium.
"I think we were kind of playing with fire during the streak, the way we won games," said Towson coach Shawn Nadelen, whose team fell to 7-5 (2-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association). "We've always talked about being consistent. We've got to make adjustments if this continues."
Penn State (7-5, 3-1) dominated on face-offs (10-4) and ground balls (38-26) and came up with more scoring chances more often en route to a third straight victory. Towson scored the game's first goal, but the Nittany Lions reeled off four in a row late in the first quarter.
Penn State's defense entered the game ranked 11th in Division I. The Nittany Lions gave up a pair of quick goals midway through the second quarter and then blanked the Tigers for the final 36 minutes, 46 seconds. Goalie Austin Kaut finished with 13 saves, including six in the fourth quarter.
Nadelen was frustrated because Towson did have chances, especially in the first half. The Tigers just couldn't finish, which was also an issue in a 14-3 loss to Massachusetts a week earlier.
"We had open guys the entire first half," Nadelen said. "It was wide open at times."
Shane Sturgis led Penn State with three goals and one assist, and Matthew Mackrides added three goals. Towson goalie Andrew Wascavage tied a career-high with 17 saves to keep the game as close as it was.
"Eight goals, that's what we're looking to hold a team to," Wascavage said. "The defense played a complete game tonight."
Towson's Matt Lamon scored a team-high two goals, and the Tigers often remained patient on offense. They just couldn't find good shots consistently.
But Penn State found lots of scoring chances. The Nittany Lions started firing early, but Wascavage stopped six of the first seven shots in the opening quarter.
Sturgis, Mackrides and Drew Roper all scored in the final 2 minutes, 36 seconds of the first quarter to give Penn State the 4-1 lead. Mackrides got an unassisted goal with 45 seconds left, and Roper added one with less than a second remaining.
The Tigers did a better job of controlling the ball and slowing the Penn State offense in the second quarter. After giving up 13 shots to the Nittany Lions in the first quarter, Towson allowed only seven in the second and held them scoreless.
Lamon got his two goals 37 seconds apart midway through the period to cut Penn State's halftime lead to 4-3.
But Penn State took control in the third quarter. Sturgis scored with 10:18 left in the period and then again about eight minutes later to give the Nittany Lions a 6-3 lead.