Penn State Completes Record-Setting Regular Season With 6-2 Loss To Minnesota
The story of this game is that it happened, and it wasn’t good. Michigan State beat Michigan earlier today, and coupled with last night’s 5-0 disaster, Penn State was locked into the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, and all it could do in this game was try to spoil Minnesota’s shot at earning the Big Ten regular season title. The Nittany Lions didn’t do that, and the final score was 6-2 Minnesota. Goals were scored by Penn State’s Gardiner and Robinson and Minnesota’s Ambroz, Collins, Rau (twice), and Fasching (twice). The goalies of record were Penn State’s Musico and Minnesota’s Wilcox.
How It Happened
A slow start to the game, unlike yesterday, didn’t punish Penn State tonight. The game’s scoring didn’t open up until more than 15 minutes had passed. Senior Max Gardiner lit the lamp against his former team to give Penn State the lead, but soon after, two Golden Gophers scored to take the lead for themselves, and after one period, the nation’s No. 15 team had the 2-1 lead.
The next period was not one Penn State will look back at fondly. Minnesota scored early to add to its lead, but James Robinson answered quickly to make the score 3-2. Then, knowing that the Big Ten title was within their grasp, the Golden Gophers poured on the offense. Three goals later, P.J. Musico was pulled in favor of Matt Skoff and the period came to a close with the home team leading 6-2.
With the game all but decided, neither team did anything to alter the outcome in the third period. A bright spot in the game was Skoff’s shutout period, but Minnesota held on to clinch the win and the title.
Player of the Game
Minnesota captain Kyle Rau. On his Senior Night, he scored two goals and led his team to the regular season title. Short guy, huge performance.
Tweet of the Game
Guy Gadowsky with a message making captain Patrick Koudys a healthy scratch. Not the first time he has scratched a captain.
— Ben Jones (@Ben_Jones88) March 15, 2015
This was most likely for one of two reasons: either Gadowsky wanted to rest his best defenseman for what he hopes will be a long upcoming weekend, or, as the game’s announcers alluded to, to send a message after a late-game scuffle the night before. Either way, without Koudys, the defense was reeling for most of the first two periods.
- Entering this game, the regular season title would be Michigan State’s with a Penn State win, or Minnesota’s with a Penn State loss. Extending a streak that is now four years old, Minnesota is again the champion.
- In the last game of the regular season, Penn State had one of its weaker on-paper lineups in the 36-game stretch. Scott Conway was serving a one-game suspension, while other key players Taylor Holstrom, Patrick Koudys, and Luke Juha only watched this one.
- In its third year as a Division 1 program, this was by far the best regular season Penn State has had. Following an 8-26-2 year, this team went 18-14-4, a staggering improvement from Guy Gadowsky’s squad.
- Minnesota scored 11 goals on Penn State this weekend. For those who don’t follow hockey regularly, that’s an unreal total.
Next Thursday, in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, it will be No. 4 Penn State facing off against No. 5 Ohio State. The game will be at 4:3o p.m. at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena, and be sure to check back with us during the week for more information about the game.