Tonight was something of a battle before it even happened — No. 6 Penn State traveled to No. 7 Minnesota with Big Ten reign and a little bit of pride on the line.
Luckily for the Nittany Lions, college hockey is a game of series. Penn State fell 5-1 to Minnesota.
How It Happened
The anticipated match up started out slow, save for some 4-on-4 play. Both teams remained scoreless until a slick backhander put Minnesota on the board 17:22 into the first. If Penn State came out of the locker room on fire, a comeback was expected.
The opposite happened — a weird rebound off the boards gave Minnesota’s Rem Pitlick a goal 54 seconds into the second for a 2-0 lead. He struck again shortly after on another rebound and things were looking bleak for teh Nittany Lions. Trevor Hamilton finally got them on the board with a wicked wrister 8:42 into the period for a 3-1 score. Minnesota thwarted any potential Penn State momentum when Sheehy found the back of a struggling Funkey’s net with 4.1 seconds left in the period to make it 4-1.
The third was peppered with solid chances on both ends, but the score remained 4-1 well in. A missed Penn State power play opportunity pretty much ended this one. Minnesota capitalized on its first power play of the game with 3:11 left to play and sealed the 5-1 final score.
- Point blank, Penn State’s defense just has to step it up. I’m always hesitant to blame a goalie, and now with both Peyton Jones and Funkey getting net time and struggling with goals allowed , it’s clear there’s a problem with the d core. Over the last three games, Penn State’s allowed its most consecutive goals this season.
- This is obvious, but more time controlling the puck in general is key for Penn State. Lately I feel like there’s been an urgency to get a huge play from the second the Nittany Lions take possession, but slowing things down a bit is less risky with a struggling defense.
Penn State gets a chance for redemption and a series split tomorrow when it and Minnesota are back at Mariucci. The puck drops at 8 p.m.