Men’s Hockey Routs Wisconsin 4-1, Clinches Series Sweep
At Pegula Ice Arena’s twenty-eighth consecutive sellout, No. 15 Penn State (15-4-3) earned its second Big Ten series sweep of the season against Wisconsin (4-10-6) and tallied its fifth conference win. Through a midst of unsportsmanlike penalties and a trio of special teams’ goals, the Nittany Lions handily defeated the Badgers 4-1.
How It Happened
In the first five minutes of play, aggressive offense was the theme for both Penn State and Wisconsin. Both teams boasted quick skating, and possession went back-and-forth relentlessly for a large potion of the first frame. The Badgers became over-zealous in their defensive zone and notched a hooking penalty, sending freshman defensemen Jake Bunz to the box at the 13:13 minute mark. While short-handed, Wisconsin kept its high-flying energy alive with a breakaway chance by Seamus Malone. A brilliant effort by Eamon McAdam shunned Malone’s five-hole attempt, and the score remained 0-0.
16 seconds later, Curtis Loik broke the silence and slipped a rebound goal passed the Wisconsin netminder’s weak stick side, demonstrating that Penn State’s special teams is back in business. This shot snapped the Nittany Lions’ streak of 13 scoreless power play chances, dating back to December 29. Penn State gained the advantage and went up 1-0. Contrary of McAdam’s apparent lower-body injury against Minnesota, he was an absolute brick wall against the Badgers, frustrating the likes of forward Luke Kunin and his many bids at the net.
With 7:34 remaining in the period, Andrew Sturtz sniped his team-leading eleventh goal of the season and boosted the Lions to a two-goal lead. After Vince Pedrie got called for interference, Penn State held on to momentum through the entirety of the first and successfully killed off the Badger power play. Full strength was restored, and the Lions left the ice for the first intermission carrying a 2-0 lead.
Kenny Brooks landed himself inside the box for an unpopular unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to start off the second period, sending Wisconsin on its second power play of the night. The Badgers did a whole lot of nothing with the man-advantage, Brooks sped out of the sin bin, and Penn State easily killed the penalty. The teams traded roles, and a Badger player found himself in the box for hooking.
This setback didn’t limit Wisconsin at all, as Luke Kunin ripped a short-handed goal passed McAdam to bring the Badgers within one at the 14-minute mark. The chippy banter between the two teams Friday night carried over into this game, and during what seemed like every stoppage of play, the players were automatically at each other’s throats. As evidence, Dylan Richard got nailed for a pre-faceoff offense at the 4:08 minute. Penn State went back on the penalty kill with “stone wall” McAdam as its leader. The Nittany Lions stayed perfect of the penalty kill and retained the 2-1 lead.
The third frame opened with a hopeful redirect by David Glen that got shunned away by the Wisconsin goaltender Matt Jurusik. This positive note for the Badgers quickly turned cold and two players took a seat for hooking and unsportsmanlike conduct calls. The Lions went on a 5-on-3 advantage. To no surprise, Penn State’s special teams rang another power play score home off the stick of Eric Scheid, and the Lions regained their two-goal lead with 12:37 left on the scoreboard.
The bad blood between the two teams continued to boil high toward the end of the game as the Badgers frustration worsened, and two more unsportsmanlike penalties were awarded to each side. A flurry of penalties continued their parade throughout the third, as Vince Pedrie put his team on another penalty kill late. But 4-on-5 play marked another opportunity for Penn State to tally a shorty, and Eric Scheid did just that. The Nittany Lions earned their fifth Big Ten conference victory with a 4-1 final.
Player Of The Game
Eamon McAdam | Junior | Goalie
Eamon McAdam, have a day. Coming into this game, a lot of skepticism surrounded McAdam’s health after the Minnesota home series. A ridiculous amount of big saves crushed every single one of those doubts. Between the pipes, McAdam was a force to be reckoned with, and when you thought that he definitely just made his best stop of the night, he’d top it with another mind-boggling save just seconds later. He was relentless, acrobatic, and a huge reason why Penn State came out on top.
The Nittany Lions look to snag their sixth Big Ten conference win as they travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on the Buckeyes Friday, January 22. The puck drops at 7 p.m.