Penn State Hockey Drops Shootout Decision To Wisconsin 5-4
Penn State men’s hockey (13-11-4, 6-8-4) took on the Wisconsin Badgers (13-12-4, 7-8-4) in the second game of a two-game series in Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday night.
The Nittany Lions couldn’t hold onto their lead in the third period, giving up three goals to a Wisconsin team that would force overtime. Both teams left the arena with a tie on their records, but Wisconsin was able to grab an addition point with a shootout win.
How It Happened
All anyone needs to know about the opening period of play in Madison is that there were a combined 12 penalties called. The refs were not about to let the game get out of hand, consistently sending one Nittany Lion and one Badger to the penalty box for roughing any time things got chippy.
There was some scoring to report, though. Denis Smirnov does what he does best – wrack up points. The Russian scored with 9:18 to play in the opening period. That goal was enough to send the Nittany Lions into the first intermission with a 1-0 advantage.
Brandon Biro opened up the scoring in the second period with 11:47 remaining. The sophomore was dragged down from behind on his way towards goal, resulting in a penalty shot. He made no mistake about it, extending the Penn State lead to 2-0. Wisconsin would respond, however, as Ryan Wagner intercepted the puck and stumbled down the ice and slotted one past Jones.
Penn State seemed on a mission, though, and Chase Berger was going to make sure that mission was completed. Berger led a break toward Wisconsin’s Jack Berry in net and got off a shot that hit the goaltender but ultimately found its way into the net. The Nittany Lions entered the final intermission with a 3-1 lead.
Wisconsin didn’t waste much tie in the final period, as Greenway blasted one from the blue line that may have been deflected before sneaking past Jones in net. The Badgers made it 3-2 just 1:47 into the period. Denis Smirnov responded with his second goal of the game, just 25 seconds later. It felt like it could’ve been the nail in the coffin for the Badgers.
Well, it wasn’t. Down 4-2, Weissbach poked one in during a scrum in front on Peyton Jones’ goal to bring the deficit to just one goal. A defensive mistake from the Nittany Lions opened up yet another opportunity for Wisconsin, and Max Zimmer slotted home a game-tying goal that sent things into overtime.
Neither side could garner an overtime goal, which brought on the shootout. In three rounds, only Wisconsin’s Weissbach was able to find the back of the net, as the Badgers walked away with a tie and an extra point to propel them to the No. 3 spot in the Big Ten.
Player of the Game
Denis Smirnov | Sophomore | Forward
Smirnov was one of the bright spots for Penn State on Saturday night. He tallied two goals, both of which seemed to put the Nittany Lions in the driver’s seat.
No. 1 Notre Dame will come to Happy Valley on Friday, February 2 for a two-game series which is likely to have significant consequences for the Nittany Lions’ tournament chances. The puck will drop at 6:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.