Penn State Men’s Hockey Completes Sweep Of No. 8 Minnesota With 5-2 Win
No. 18 Penn State men’s hockey (16-13-5, 9-10-5) wrapped up its season with a home game against No. 8 Minnesota (19-15-2, 10-12-2) on Saturday night. The final home game of the season meant a lot for the Nittany Lions, as a win would give them home ice in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament.
A win is just what they got, as Alex Limoges, Denis Smirnov, Brandon Biro, and James Robinson all scored for Penn State on Saturday night as Penn State took down Minnesota 5-2.
How It Happened
After Minnesota came out strong, outshooting Penn State 4-0 in the opening three minutes, Alex Limoges got the Penn State scoring started. Liam Folkes found Limoges streaking along the left wing, and the lefty beat Mat Robson at his near post to give Penn State a 1-0 lead with 16:24 remaining in the opening period.
With 11:15 to play in the period, Minnesota’s Sadek was sent to the penalty box for tripping. As the power play was expiring, Limoges found himself right in front of goal and tried to slide a couple of shots past Robson in goal. Robson kept out Limoges’ two efforts, but Smirnov grabbed the rebound to give Penn State a 2-0 lead with 9:12 remaining in the period.
Barrett went to the box for hooking with 2:30 remaining in the opening frame, but Penn State killed off the penalty with some impressive defense and skated into the first intermission holding a 2-0 lead.
1:02 into the second period, Andrew Sturtz was booked for tripping and Minnesota went on the power play. The Golden Gophers couldn’t make anything of it, before Lindgren was sent to the box for high sticking with 16:16 to play in the period. Like Minnesota, Penn State couldn’t couldn’t break through on the power play.
Just seconds later, though, Nate Sucese led the Nittany Lions in a 2-on-1, showing the vision and poise to find Brandon Biro with an open shot on goal. Biro made no mistake, extending the Penn State lead to 3-0 with 13:36 remaining in the second period.
Minnesota finally got one back with 1:58 remaining in the second, as Szmatula beat Peyton Jones to the top shelf. The Nittany Lions would bring their 3-1 into the final intermission and they would have 1:25 left of a power play heading into the final period.
Penn State extended its lead with 17:23 to play in the final period on the power play. Smirnov let one fly from the point which Limoges tipped to send the puck past Robson in goal. Limoges notched his second goal of the game on the effort to make it 4-1.
Minnesota would bring it within two goals with 5:16 to play as Brent Gates Jr. fired one past Peyton Jones in goal. Minnesota looked to salvage something by pulling Robson, but James Robinson made them pay with an unassisted goal on the open Gophers’ net with 1:07 remaining in the game.
Penn State held Minnesota 0-5 on the power play in another fantastic display on both sides of the puck. Peyton Jones had a very solid game in goal, not letting anything past that should’ve been saved.
Player of the Game
Alex Limoges | Freshman | Forward
Alex Limoges came up with two goals and an assist in yet another impressive game from the freshman. Unfortunately, he didn’t press the easy button again, but he had a terrific offensive performance nonetheless.
The Nittany Lions will Minnesota on Friday, March 2 for the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament in Happy Valley. The time is tentatively 7 p.m. for both games and television coverage is TBD.