Men’s Hockey: Penn State Splits Series with B1G Foe Minnesota

Story posted January 10, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Bria Donnelly

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a month away, the Penn State men’s hockey team was back in action at Pegula Ice Arena against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The 15th-ranked Nittany Lions came into this weekend 2-0 in Big Ten play and sat three points behind the conference-leading Gophers.

The first period got off to a slow start with both teams unable to find the back of the net but hitting plenty of pipe.

While killing off a Nick Seeler penalty, Hudson Fasching found himself with two shorthanded breakaways but Eamon Mcadams came up huge stuffing Fasching both times.

Just 2:14 into the second period, Zach Saar was able to bury the puck in the back of the net after a hectic scrum in front of the Minnesota net to give Penn State the 1-0 lead.

Things started to get chippy early in the second period resulting in two minutes of 4v4 after Vince Pedrie and Hudson Fasching were both sent to the box for cross checking.

After a beautiful pass from Erik Autio, Sturtz was able to split the defenders and go back hand stick side for a beautiful goal to put the Nittany Lions up by two with 12 minutes left to play in the second. Minnesota immediately followed up the Penn State goal with their third penalty of the night on a hooking call from Ryan Collins.

With seven minutes to go, the Golden Gophers found themselves with a 5v3 opportunity for 1:45 after penalties from Connor Varley and Kevin Kerr but the Nittany Lions penalty kill prevailed much to the phenomenal goaltending of McAdams to keep Minnesota scoreless heading into the third.

Less than two minutes into the third period Vinni Lettieri was able to strip the puck from the Penn State defense deep in the corner and give it to Brent Gates Jr. who was posted between the hashes. Gates’ quick release was able to beat a sliding McAdams to pull the Gophers within one early in the third.

Half way through the third Minnesota was able to tie it up at two after Leon Bristedt walked the puck in front of the net but got it poked check away. Gates was at the right place at the right time again and was able to gather the puck up and slide it just through McAdams five hole for his second goal of the game. 

With both teams visibly exhausted they headed into overtime after a one minute intermission.

With 1:03 left in the overtime period, the Minnesota native and Penn State’s own Vince Pedrie got a pass up to the point from Tommy Olczyk and took a low shot that slid right under Eric Schierhorn to win the game.

“That was certainly tremendous goaltending but absolutely the most courageous goaltending performance we’ve had,” said Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky after the game speaking on behalf of McAdams.

Game two started much of the same way game one ended with both teams being very physical along the boards and in front of the net.

On a play that looked like something you draw up in practice, Tommy Novak walked the zone and found a wide-open Bristedt cross-ice and who was able to beat a sliding Matthew Skoff.

After failing to capitalize on his opportunities the previous night, Fasching put Minnesota up by two on a shorthanded goal.

The second period was marred by chippy and physical play by both teams with Penn State getting sent to the box three times and saw only one goal that went to Tyler Sheehy of the Gophers.

Minnesota came out firing in the third period. With only a minute and a half gone Minnesota was able to put the game away and go up by four thanks a Lettieri goal.

Minnesota’s Michael Brodzinski was called for cross checking and roughing after the whistle that gave Penn State four minutes with a man advantage. Coach Gadowsky pulled Skoff off the ice to give his men the 6-4 advantage but Justin Kloos was able to beat the PSU defenders to the puck and get an empty net goal for the gophers with 20 seconds still to go in the PSU power play.

Minnesota found themselves able to generate more offense off of their penalty kill than Penn State had off of their power play after Fasching netted his second shorthanded goal of the game and Minnesota’s third short handed goal of the game.

With 3:39 to play Vince Pedrie was able to finally get Penn State on the board with a wrist shot from the point but one minute later Ryan Norman gave Minnesota their fourth goal of the period.

The Golden Gophers got their revenge on the Nittany Lions downing them 7-1 to split the series.

Minnesota had nine penalties on the weekend while Penn State finished with eight, though neither teams were able to capitalize on any of their power play opportunities.

“That’s a good team, that’s one of the best programs in the nation, and it shows how far we’ve come but how far we have to go in order to beat a top team like that every night,” said senior captain David Glen after the game.

The Nittany Lions will be back in action at Pegula next weekend for another conference matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers.

Bria Donnelly is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her email – bmd5311@psu.edu.