No. 18 Penn State Hockey Drops 4-3 Heartbreaker To Wisconsin In Big Ten Quarterfinal Opener
No. 18 Penn State men’s hockey (19-14-2, 11-13-1 Big Ten) opened its conference quarterfinal series against Wisconsin (14-16-5, 10-10-5 Big Ten) with a brutal 4-3 loss at Pegula Ice Arena.
Alex Limoges and Paul DeNaples scored for the Nittany Lions, but a Sean Dhooghe hat trick that included a game-winning goal with 1:50 to play in regulation powered Wisconsin a 1-0 lead in the series. Wisconsin became the first away team to win in the conference’s newly-implemented format, which debuted last season.
Peyton Jones made 38 saves in the loss.
How It Happened
Wisconsin got the lion’s share of chances in the early stages of tonight’s game, but Peyton Jones was there to deny each of them. Penn State’s Blake Gober recorded the best chance of the first 10 minutes of action with a deflection towards the Badger goal, but it was kicked away by goalie Daniel Lebedeff.
Tarek Baker gave Wisconsin a 1-0 lead after a tough turnover by Evan Bell. Baker swooped into the offensive zone and stole Bell’s outlet pass to open the scoring in tonight’s game. Sean Dhooghe doubled the Badger lead with a power play goal late in the first as Evan Barratt sat for tripping.
Penn State’s big line of Alex Limoges, Evan Barratt, and Liam Folkes popped up in a huge spot to trim the deficit to 2-1 with 1:40 to play in the first period. Limoges cashed in on a rebound to score his team-leading 18th goal of the season, and his team trailed by a goal after 20 minutes.
The second period got off to another evenly-matched start, but Sean Dhooghe cashed in as a penalty on Limoges expired to extend the Badger lead to 3-1 with 12:32 remaining. Dhooghe’s second of the game technically won’t count as a power play goal, but the man advantage was once again efficient in generating chances.
Wisconsin took control of momentum following the goal and stifled the Nittany Lion attack. This came at a cost — Badger captain Peter Tischke left the game due to an apparent injury to hurt a defensive core that’s already missing first-round NHL Draft choice K’Andre Miller.
Regardless, Wisconsin took a two-goal lead and 28-26 advantage in shots into the second intermission after killing off 27.3 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play at the end of the middle frame. Penn State failed to capitalize on 1:32 of carry-over power play time to start the third period despite a few good looks.
However, the Nittany Lions would find the back of the net when Paul DeNaples crashed the net from the point and stuffed home a centering feed from Liam Folkes with 16:17 left in the third period. Folkes and Evan Barratt picked up the helpers on DeNaples’ second NCAA goal and first at Pegula Ice Arena.
Alex Limoges tied the game at three with 12:12 left in the third period after Barratt found him with a perfect pass in front of the goal. Limoges’ second of the game sent a sparse spring break crowd at Pegula Ice Arena into a frenzy and gave Penn State a huge jolt of energy.
The Badgers ultimately weathered the ensuing Penn State storm, and Sean Dhooghe completed his hat-trick with 1:50 left in the game to give Wisconsin a 4-3 lead. Penn State couldn’t capitalize on a late power play, and Wisconsin took a 1-0 lead in this weekend’s conference quarterfinal.
- Penn State might be dissolving into a one-line unit, but you really won’t find many lines better than Alex Limoges, Evan Barratt, and Liam Folkes in college hockey. The three stars played a hand in all of Penn State’s goals this evening and combined for seven points.
- “Too cute” is a perfect description of Penn State’s 1-for-5 effort on the power play tonight. Some of the Nittany Lion forwards missed wide-open nets, and that seemed to discourage a team known for producing a high volume of shots from shooting, and this really hurt the Penn State attack. Alex Limoges’ crucial third-period goal on the man advantage was the product of a much-needed adjustment.
- All analysis aside, this game was absolutely fantastic. Friday’s contest was so evenly matched — even when Wisconsin took leads of 2-0 and 3-1. Tonight was a perfect example of what the Big Ten hockey conference looks like at its best: two evenly-contested teams leaving it all on the ice.
The Nittany Lions and Badgers will continue their series at 6 p.m. tomorrow back at Pegula Ice Arena.
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About the Author
The redshirt freshman has seen increased reps at wide receiver and punt returner this season.
Coming off another conference win, the Nittany Lions emphasized the importance of having each other’s backs in the midst of the Big Ten slate.
“Now, running out of the tunnel at a White Out, it gives you chills.”