Penn State Hockey Takes Down No. 8 Minnesota 5-1 In Happy Valley
No. 18 Penn State men’s hockey (15-13-5) took on No. 8 Minnesota (19-14-2) on Friday night in the first game of the final home series for the Nittany Lions this season. In a game with major Big Ten Tournament implications, Penn State really stuck it to the visitors, dominating in a 5-1 win.
James Robinson, Trevor Hamilton, Liam Folkes, Evan Barratt, and Alex Limoges all scored for Penn State on the way to the blowout victory. The Nittany Lions outshot the visiting Golden Gophers 61-15, which is entirely representative of how the game went.
How It Happened
It wouldn’t be Big Ten hockey without some chipiness, and this time it started before the first whistle was blown as a Minnesota skater got into a shoving match with Andrew Sturtz. 29 seconds into the first period, Minnesota’s Sadek was sent to the penalty box for cross-checking. Nothing came of it, but the heat was certainly turned up in the building from the start.
Kris Myllari and James Robinson opened the scoring with 11:47 to play in the first period. Kris Myllari fired in a slapshot that Robinson deflected perfectly to sneak the puck past Mat Robson in Minnesota’s goal.
Against the run of play, the Golden Gophers evened things up with 7:38 remaining in the period. Mittelstadt got a stick on an incoming shot from Sadek and somehow redirected it past Jones. To that point, the Nittany Lions had led 14-3 in the shots department and dominated every aspect of the game. Despite leading 21-4 in shots at the end of the period, Penn State went into the intermission tied with the visitors.
With 16:00 to play in the second period, Nate Sucese found himself on the break but was hooked by Minnesota’s Romanko before he could get a shot off. Despite nearly snagging a second goal on a number of occasions, Penn State couldn’t take the lead.
Penn State would break through, however, as Marsh found Pavlychev who was breaking into the attacking zone. The Nittany Lions’ big man found Trevor Hamilton with tremendous pass and Hamilton slotted it away into a wide-open net for a 2-1 lead with 9:29 remaining in the period.
Sucese seemed to come through with another goal just minutes later, but the referees reviewed and disallowed it due to a kick. Penn State would head into the second intermission with a 2-1 lead and a 47-11 shots advantage.
14 seconds into the final period of play, Andrew Sturtz was assessed a five-minute major for head contact and a game misconduct and Minnesota’s Sadek was booked for roughing after the whistle. The Penn State penalty kill was outrageously effective, however, and kept the Gophers off the board.
Liam Folkes led an one-man attack with 13:33 left in the contest, out-skating two Gophers, stopping on a dime, and slotting one past Robson in goal for one of the most impressive goals of the season.
Concurring penalties came with 11:32 remaining as Barratt and Lindgren got into a spat. The two were chirping throughout their penalty sentences. 25 seconds later, Minnesota’s Nanne was booked for checking Denis Smirnov from behind, so the Nittany Lions went on the power play.
Barratt, after absolutely blasting Lindgren with a clean check once they both returned to the ice, ripped one the left wing, going bar-down past Robson with 8:25 to play to make it 4-1. Robson was subsequently pulled from the game. Limoges didn’t care, though, and would make it 5-1 with 3:08 left to play in the game. Limoges even decided to hit the “easy button” poster along the glass in front of the Roar Zone. Easy, indeed.
That would do it in Happy Valley, as Gadowsky’s squad skated away with a big win.
Player of the Game
James Gobetz | Sophomore | Defense
James Gobetz tallied two assists and was a big part of the team’s ability to hold Minnesota to just 15 shots on the night.
The Nittany Lions will finish up their series with Minnesota on Saturday at 7 p.m. You can catch the game on the Big Ten Network.