Hockey Game Grades: B1G Tournament
Penn State played incredible throughout the past three days. Penn State went into the weekend needing to win at least one game in the tournament and they did more than they needed to do. Penn State used the momentum of the Michigan game to beat Minnesota in the semifinal, and then go on to beat Wisconsin in 2OT to become the Big Ten Hockey Champions. Here are the game grades for this past weekend.
PSU v. Michigan
The offense was on fire Thursday night as they scored four goals throughout the game. There were three goals scored within the first period to give the Nittany Lions the commanding lead throughout the rest of the game. Those goals were scored by Liam Folkes, Nate Sucese, and David Goodwin. Vince Pedrie added a fourth goal in the second period to expand that lead.
The defense was also very hot this game. Playing stellar in front of Peyton Jones and only giving up one goal in the process. The defense held Michigan to one for three on power plays throughout the night as Penn State went one for two on theirs.
Peyton Jones played one of his best games this night, having 30 saves throughout the game and as mentioned above, only allowing one goal. He seemed to have no freshman jitters heading into a crucial game for the Nittany Lions who were on the bubble when the tournament started.
PSU v. Minnesota
The offense for the Nittany Lions was on fire this weekend, and especially in this game. They had a combined 63 shots throughout the game, which includes the overtime as well. This game was a game of the offenses, in which Penn State scored four goals compared to the Golden Gophers 3. Nikita Pavlychev, Alec Marsh, Dylan Richard, and Erik Autio scored the four goals for the Nittany Lions. Penn State also moved the puck around very well, with Andrew Sturtz getting three assist on the night. Penn State scored on two power plays, with one coming in the 2OT, when Erik Autio, with an incredible pass from Denis Smirnov, put the puck in the back of the net.
The defense played well when it counted in this game. The first period, they got off to a shaky start, allowing the Golden Gophers to put in two goals, scored by Rem Pitlick and Justin Kloos. In the regular season, the Golden Gophers always seemed to look faster and outpace the defense, but Friday night, the defense held their own. They kept up with Justin Kloos, Tyler Sheehy, and the rest of Minnesota’s powerful offense.
Peyton Jones stood his ground in this game. Usually when a team puts three goals in the back of the net against Jones, it gets to his head, especially with Minnesota who scored a late goal in the third period to tie a game that Penn State just took the lead of earlier in the season. On Friday night, Jones had 37 saves, allowing three goals, but contained the Golden Gophers enough to get the win.
PSU v. Wisconsin
The offense was very slow this game, as defense really dominated the game. Penn State put a goal in early on, which happened in the first period. The hero of the night was Liam Folkes. Folkes put the team on his back this night. Folkes scored both goals, including the most important goal of the whole season in 2OT to crown the Nittany Lions Big Ten champions. Brandon Biro also had the two assists on those two goals.
The defense stayed solid this game as playing three games in three days in very tough to do. Someone would expect the defense to be spent from the past two games, especially after the Minnesota game in which Penn State played a 2OT game. The defense stayed to their strategy and didn’t allow a powerful offense of Wisconsin to get past them and score. They made scoring difficult, as the only goal allowed was on a power play.
Peyton Jones played his best game of the year on Saturday night. Jones had career high of 51 saves, while only allowing one goal. His rebound control was on this game and Jones looked calm, making saves early and also facing 12 shots in the first OT period. Jones was consistent throughout the game.
Anthony Spada is a freshman majoring in security and sisk analysis. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.