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No. 18 Penn State Hockey Cruises Past Minnesota

No. 18 Penn State men’s hockey (15-10-2, 7-9-1 Big Ten) kicked off its series with Minnesota (11-13-4, 8-8-3 Big Ten) with a dominating 7-2 victory.

Alex Limoges scored a pair of goals. Chase Berger, Liam Folkes, Cole Hults, and Nate Sucese all added one each themselves, and Peyton Jones made 24 saves in net.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions jumped all over the Gophers right off the opening puck drop, creating a handful of quality chances in the opening two minutes. They were rewarded for their strong start when Folkes jammed home a rebound before some fans had even settled into their seats.

Minnesota was able to steady itself and grow into the game following the goal. The Gophers began to harass Peyton Jones in net, but the junior netminder stood tall and kept the game at 1-0.

Just over halfway through the first period Paul DeNaples jumped on a Minnesota turnover in the neutral zone and quickly moved the puck up ice to Sucese. Sucese then fired a bullet off the bottom of the cross bar and into the back of the net to extend the Nittany Lion lead to two.

Exactly one minute later Penn State would score again to stretch the lead to 3-0. Alex Limoges crashed the net and slammed home the loose puck, prematurely ending Minnesota goaltender Matt Robson’s night. Robson was replaced in goal by senior Eric Scheirhorn.

The second period got off to a back and forth start. Both teams traded scoring opportunities, but neither side was able to finish in the opening minutes of the second.

Then, just under five minutes into the period Hults got on the end of a pretty passing exchange, and slid the puck into a wide open Gopher goal. Penn State was now in full control of the game leading 4-0.

With just under eight minutes to go in the second period Penn State made a couple of crisp, cross ice passes which pulled the Minnesota defense out of position. This left Berger all alone in front to bank home Penn State’s fifth goal of the evening.

A Hults slashing minor put the Gophers on to the powerplay with just under seven minutes left to go in the second. Tyler Sheehy would finally get something going for Minnesota when he fired a laser over Jones’ glove to cut the Nittany Lions’ lead to 5-1.

The lead would quickly be restored to five however. Alex Limoges got his stick to a loose puck in front to make the score 6-1. Penn State would head into the second intermission with an impressive five goal lead.

Sheehy scored his second goal of the game just 19 seconds into the third period. Sheehy fired a shot over Jones’ short-side shoulder and just inside the post to cut the Nittany Lion lead to four.

With just under two minutes remaining Brandon Biro scored with a smooth move in front to beat Scheirhorn. The goal put Penn State up 7-2, and it would be the last of the game as the Nittany Lions grabbed their 15th win of the season.

Takeaways

  • Penn State had about as perfect of a start that you can have in a hockey game. The Nittany Lions went into the first intermission with a commanding 3-0 lead. The electric offensive attack was led by the Folkes-Baratt-Limoges line which scored two goals in the period. Peyton Jones was also spectacular in net, stopping all 12 shots that came his way in the opening stanza.
  • The Nittany Lions were relentless around the net tonight. Folkes and Limoges simply outworked the Minnesota defense around the crease to score their first period tallies. Hults then snuck behind an oblivious Gopher defender on the back post to score Penn State’s fourth goal. Berger was also left all alone in front for his goal, and Limoges was unimpeded for his second of the night. In the third period Brandon Biro was left all alone to deak his way around Scheirhorn. Suffice to say, Penn State took full advantage of Minnesota’s woeful defensive zone coverage.
  • There were obviously a lot of positives to take away from the Nittany Lions’ performance tonight. However, Guy Gadowsky is going to be annoyed by the three “stick penalties” that his team committed tonight. Gadowsky has spoken at length about how Penn State has to avoid taking “stick penalties” such as slashing, hooking, and tripping. The penalties didn’t come back to bite the Nittany Lions tonight, but they’re going to have to clean them up sooner rather than later.

What’s Next

Penn State and Minnesota will square off again tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Pegula Ice Arena.

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About the Author

Matthew Fox

Matt is a Senior from Lansdale Pennsylvania majoring in Broadcast Journalism. He loves sports, and is still patiently waiting for the Philadelphia Flyers to win a Stanley Cup. If you would ever like to reach out to Matt you can email him at [email protected]

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