Men’s Hockey Completes First-Ever Sweep Of Wisconsin, 4-2
The Penn State men’s hockey team brought the brooms along with it to Madison, as the team completed a two-game sweep against the Wisconsin Badgers, winning 4-2 on Saturday and improving to 9-4-2 on the season. It marked the first time in program history the Nittany Lions earned a weekend sweep of a Big Ten team.
Junior goaltender Matthew Skoff earned the start, replacing sophomore Eamon McAdam, who started the first game in the series on Friday.
Scoring was absent in the first period of play, as both teams failed to break the stalemate. Both teams played physical hockey, with plenty of hits coming along the boards early on. Penn State had plenty of chances, including two close chances from Kenny Brooks and David Goodwin. The Nittany Lions edged out Wisconsin in the shooting department after one period of play, outshooting the Badgers 12-9, while also winning the faceoff war, 12-11.
After the intermission, both teams took the ice with a renewed vigor, and it showed. Wisconsin junior defenseman Kevin Schulze ended the scoring stalemate with a rocket from the point, putting the Badgers up 1-0 with 17:28 remaining in the period. The Lions responded two minutes later, courtesy of James Robinson. The freshman was able to squeeze one past Wisconsin goaltender Joel Rumpel on the rush, tying the game up 1-1.
Max Gardiner put the Nittany Lions on top 2-1, thanks to a shot that somehow got past Rumpel after a scramble in front of the net. The goal was reviewed by the officials, but eventually was ruled a good goal.
Tommy Olczyk added to the carnage, taking a feed from Erik Autio, and blasting it by Rumpel to put Penn State ahead 3-1 with 7:06 remaining in the period. The Lions had a few additional chances as the period progressed, including a beautiful attempt by defenseman Patrick Koudys, but went to no avail. At the end of two periods, Penn State remained ahead of Wisconsin shooting-wise, leading 26-17, while also edging out the Badgers in the faceoffs department, 25-22.
Ricky DeRosa opened up the scoring in the third period with a beautiful goal, making it 4-1, while gaining full control of the contest. The Badgers did make things interesting with a nice backhander from Morgan Zulinick, cutting Penn State’s lead to two with five minutes remaining in the game.
In a last ditch effort, Wisconsin pulled Rumpel in favor of an extra attacker, but still could not find a way to score. Matthew Skoff played a solid game, doing enough to help the Nittany Lions complete the season sweep. Penn State’s power play unit should receive its fair share of the credit, as the unit went a perfect 4-4 on penalty kills.
With the win, Penn State now sits alone atop the Big Ten with nine points, and improves to 3-1-0-0 in conference play. Next up for Penn State will be Robert Morris in the Three Rivers Classic held at the Consol Energy Center on Dec. 29.