Penn State Tops Minnesota in Needed Series Sweep
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa- Penn State defeated Minnesota 6-2 in the second game of an important home series.
Penn State jumped out to an early lead in this one, with Nate Sucese scoring a breakaway goal just two minutes into the game.
The Nittany Lions and Golden Gophers each costed a goal in the opening period. Minnesota would have been on the board first, but they were called for too many men on the ice after a video review, and Penn State had a Nate Sucese goal overturned in the same fashion.
Penn State dominated in terms of puck possession in the first period, winning 15 faceoffs to Minnesota’s three.
Minnesota would be a disruptive force in the second period, keeping Penn State honest with some physical play.
The scoring opened up in a flurry in the second period
Sammy Walker evened the score 2-2 at 11:40 of the period with an even strength goal, Blake McLaughlin and Clayton Phillips assisting the score.
Penn State would quickly respond barely a minute later when Alex Limoges scored a power-play goal, with assists from Liam Folkes and Evan Barratt.
The Nittany Lions would take the 3-2 lead on an even strength goal by Brandon Biro, with the help of Chase Berger and Alec Marsh.
The Gophers’ Sampo Ranta was hit with a game misconduct for cross-checking late in the second period, giving the Lions a five minute power-play, in which they were unable to capitalize with any goals.
Head coach Guy Gadowsky saw positives in the strength of his team’s power play, despite not scoring during the five-minute man advantage.
“The thing that I liked about it was we had a lot of chances, you’re not gonna score every time but if you generate tempo its a positive, and I thought we did that,” Gadowsky said. “[We had] 15 shots on the power play, so I thought we generated momentum and when that happens you’re fine not scoring.”
Nikita Pavlychev would make up for the wasted opportunity with a power-play goal at 3:55 of the third period, finding an open net on after collecting a rebound and extending the lead to 4-2.
Chase Berger would make it a 5-2 game with an even strength goal on superb passes from Brandon Biro and Alec Marsh.
Nate Sucese scored his second goal of the game at 15:14 of the third period to set the final score at 6-2.
Left Wing Blake Gober, a bit of an unsung hero for the Nittany Lions, played well and blocked two big shots. Coach Gadowsky commended his performance, while also complimenting Minnesota.
“I thought he played a really great game tonight,” Gadowsky said. “He blocked shots, he took hits to make plays, which is not an easy thing to do, but it’s why he’s infectious to the team.”
Defense has been a struggle for this Penn State team all season, but Gadowsky saw his team make strides in only allowing four goals in two games on the weekend.
“I thought we took a step, specifically in the defensive zone. We’re happy, but we’re not there yet by any means, but I think we’ve taken a positive step. The coaching staff is pleased with the progress, but you never check that box,” Gadowsky said.
Penn State returns to the ice next Friday, Feb. 15 to take on Michigan State in East Lansing.
Jeremy Ganes is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.