No. 16 Men’s Hockey Falls 4-1 To Minnesota In Mariucci
Guy Gadowsky’s Nittany Lions didn’t exactly turn in the best third period last Saturday in Madison Square Garden, surrendering four unanswered goals on their way to a 6-3 setback versus Michigan.
Eamon McAdam finished with a career-high 43 saves in New York City despite the sluggish nightcap, but keeping with Gadowsky’s penchant for rotating his netminders, it was Matthew Skoff between the pipes Friday night in Minneapolis. No. 16 Penn State (16-8-3, 6-5-0 Big Ten) dropped its fourth game in a row, as Minnesota (14-12-0, 9-2-0 Big Ten) extended its conference lead with a 4-1 victory.
How It Happened
The Golden Gophers skated to a strong start in Mariucci Arena, as junior forward Hudson Fasching continued his hot season against Penn State by beating Skoff 1:14 into the contest. Fasching found the back of the net twice during Minnesota’s 7-1 stomping of the Nittany Lions in the second game of mid-January’s split series between these two programs in Pegula.
Penn State answered midway through the first period on freshman forward Chase Berger’s rebound goal, his 12th of the season. The St. Louis native closed the gap between fellow frosh Andrew Sturtz for the most goals by a Nittany Lion (13) this winter to one. The Nittany Lions were without Sturtz Friday night, who was serving a one-game suspension for the brutal elbow he landed on Michigan’s Tyler Motte in garbage time at the Garden.
— Penn State Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) February 6, 2016
It looked like fifth-year senior Tommy Olczyk had delivered a crucial 2-1 advantage less than two minutes later, but after a lengthy deliberation the referees came to the conclusion that Minnesota goaltender Eric Schierhorn had been interfered with by Ricky DeRosa, causing the goal to be disallowed. Surely Hockey Valley thought DeRosa was pushed, but we’ll let you decide for yourself.
The Nittany Lions put the controversial play behind them but slipped up with :48 seconds left to play before the first intermission. Junior forward Taylor Cammarata dished the dagger to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead heading into the break. Don Lucia’s bunch posted 12 shots on goal to Penn State’s 11, but the pair of early missteps would prove costly.
Skoff turned in some brilliant saves on the night — finishing with 39 — but a well-placed shot by Tyler Sheehy gave the Golden Gophers more breathing room eight minutes and change into the second frame. They would take that momentum into the third period, needing only to shut down Penn State’s typically highly-flying attack for another 20 minutes to take a 2-1 season series lead. Minnesota dominated Gadowsky’s squad 19-11 in the shot department, but thanks to Skoff, who recorded a ridiculous 18 saves during the second period, the margin remained reasonable.
During Friday night’s broadcast, the Big Ten Network showcased a neat feature on junior David Goodwin’s six-week study abroad trip to Puebla, Mexico, where he had the chance to be fully immersed in the Spanish language and take a few courses.
Senior forward Curtis Loik didn’t return to the ice for the third period — perhaps due to injury — but no official reason was given for his absence. Minnesota’s Leon Bristedt wasted little time stretching the lead to 4-1, as the sophomore from Stockholm, Sweden, struck paydirt six minutes into the final frame. Despite the lopsided loss, the Nittany Lions were a perfect 5-for-5 on the power kill.
Minnesota swept the stars Friday night, as Cammarata (1st), Bristedt (2nd), and Schierhorn (3rd) paced the Golden Gophers to an all-important conference win. Penn State was also shellacked on faceoffs won, 45-22, and blocked shots, 15-4.
Player Of The Game
Eric Schierhorn | Goaltender | Freshman
The Anchorage, Alaska, native put on a show in front of the maroon and gold faithful, recording 31 saves to stifle Penn State’s offense.
The 16th-ranked Nittany Lions will have a chance to redeem themselves and split the series against Minnesota for a second time this season Saturday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. ET in Mariucci Arena.