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No. 9 Penn State Hockey Opens Second Half Of Season With 4-2 Win Against Minnesota

No. 9 Penn State men’s hockey (12-5-2, 4-4-1 Big Ten) opened the second half of the 2018-19 season with a 4-2 victory against Minnesota (6-8-2, 3-3-3 Big Ten) at Mariucci Arena.

Brandon Biro, Kevin Kerr, Denis Smirnov, and Alex Limoges scored for the Nittany Lions, who picked up their third victory at Minnesota’s home rink in program history. Penn State extended its win streak to five against the Golden Gophers dating back to the end of last season.

Junior goalie Peyton Jones made 30 saves in the win.

How It Happened

Penn State dominated most of the first period, generating plenty of offensive chances which were all denied by Minnesota goalie Mat Robson. The team loosened its grip on the flow of the game when Alec Marsh took consecutive minor penalties in the later stages of the period.

Minnesota’s power play couldn’t capitalize on its first opportunity, but Brent Gates Jr. scored on the second man advantage to give the Gophers a 1-0 lead entering the first intermission.

The second period was much better for the Nittany Lions, as alternate captains Brandon Biro and Kevin Kerr both found the back of the net to give Penn State a 2-1 lead. Biro’s goal was a beauty — he fired a wrist shot past Robson as he was tripped up by a Golden Gopher defender 3:29 into the frame.

Kerr’s first goal of the season came with 11:51 to play in the period. He collected a beautiful cross-ice pass from Ludvig Larsson and rifled a wrist shot past Robson. Evan Bell — a transfer from Merrimack who made his Penn State debut on Friday night — picked up the secondary assist on the play.

Penn State couldn’t have asked for a better start to the third period — Denis Smirnov scored his fifth of the season after a great feed from Larsson. His goal extended the team’s lead to 3-1 just 1:23 into the final 20 minutes of play.

Minnesota’s Jack Ramsey scored his first goal of the season with 12:43 left in the third period to trim Penn State’s lead to 3-2. The senior made a beautiful toe-drag move and rifled a wrist shot past Peyton Jones to give the Golden Gophers a much-needed spark.

Peyton Jones stood tall for the Nittany Lions, making 13 saves in the third period on a flurry of chances by Minnesota to secure his eighth victory of the 2018-19 campaign. Alex Limoges became the first player in all of college hockey to reach the 30-point mark with an empty netter in the dying seconds of Friday’s game.


  • Defenseman Evan Bell picked up an assist and quarterbacked the Nittany Lions’ top power play unit in his Penn State debut in tonight’s game. He transferred to the program from Merrimack, but wasn’t eligible to play until the second half of the season.
  • Ludvig Larsson had a strong game to start the second half of the season. He picked up the primary assist on Kevin Kerr and Denis Smirnov’s goals while playing on a line with Smirnov and Nate Sucese.
  • Sam Sternschein might not have scored a point tonight, but he also looked good against the Golden Gophers. The only thing he could’ve improved on Friday night was his finishing — all of his team-leading five shots on goal were denied by Mat Robson.
  • Nittany Lion forwards Evan Barratt and Aarne Talvitie will play against each other in the gold medal game of the U-20 World Junior Championship at 8 p.m. Saturday. Both players obviously won’t play against Minnesota on Saturday night, but a shot at World Junior gold seems like a pretty valid excuse to me.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions and Golden Gophers will close out this weekend’s series at 8 p.m. Saturday at Mariucci Arena.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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