Men’s Hockey Drops Big Ten Opener To Wisconsin 7-1
After a humbling 5-4 loss to Union last Sunday, the men’s hockey team looked to rebound against No. 17 Wisconsin and snap the recent four-game skid. However, the Nittany Lions were no match for the overpowering Badgers and Penn State dropped its Big Ten opener 7-1. Penn State is now 3-8-1 on the year following the loss.
Wisconsin jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with quick goals from Grant Besse and Frankie Simonelli to start the game. However, Penn State cut the lead in half with eight minutes left in the first when captain Tommy Olczyk notched his first of the season to make the score 2-1. Ricky Derosa found Olczyk wide open in the slot, who was able to beat the glove of Wisconsin goaltender Joel Rumpel (27 saves, .964 save percentage).
The flood gates burst open in the second period, however, as Wisconsin got goals from Michael Mersch and Tyler Barnes to put the Badgers up 4-1. The Nittany Lions were unable to generate any offense throughout the second, and were outshot 18 to 7 during the period.
Penn State didn’t fare any better in the third period, as Wisconsin’s Nic Kerdiles scored eight minutes in to make the score 5-1. Coach Guy Gadowsky pulled Penn State goaltender Matthew Skoff (33 saves, .868 save percentage) after the goal and opted to go with P.J. Musico (three saves, two goals against) for the remainder of the game. It was Musico’s first appearance for the Nittany Lions this season, and suffice it to say that neither goalie played well against the Badgers.
Even with the goalie change, Wisconsin was able to tack on two more with goals from Kevin Schulze and Brad Navin. The Nittany Lions once again couldn’t solve Rumpel in the third period, and the Badgers were able to close out the 7-1 win. The 7-1 final is the Nittany Lion’s biggest loss of the season.
Penn State will face Wisconsin again tonight at 9 p.m. Fans can watch the game on BTN2Go.