No. 18 Penn State Hockey Bounces Back To Beat Wisconsin 6-2 In Game 2 Of Big Ten Quarterfinal
No. 18 Penn State men’s hockey (20-14-2, 12-13-1 Big Ten) won 6-2 in its second Big Ten quarterfinal game against Wisconsin (14-17-5, 10-11-5 Big Ten) on Saturday.
Alex Limoges, Liam Folkes, Brandon Biro, Nate Sucese, and Evan Bell scored for the Nittany Lions, who tied the Big Ten quarterfinal at 1-1. Penn State got back to its trademark style of play and swarmed Wisconsin throughout the game.
Peyton Jones wasn’t all that busy in goal with 24 saves in his 100th NCAA appearance.
How It Happened
Wisconsin kept the good times rolling early on tonight by opening the scoring 3:27 into the game. Linus Weissbach buried his eighth goal of the season after going coast-to-coast to give his Badgers a 1-0 lead.
Alex Limoges stayed hot by scoring his third goal of the series 5:17 later. Limoges reached the 20-goal mark this year by stuffing home a rebound after peeling off the end boards. Adam Pilewicz — who drew into the lineup in place of the suspended Evan Barratt — and Alex Stevens picked up the assists on the play.
The first period ended with both sides scoring once, but Penn State truly controlled play throughout most of the period. Shots on goal were 19-7 in favor of the Nittany Lions, and they used this momentum to take charge of the game in the middle frame.
Limoges’ line with Liam Folkes and Pilewicz struck again early on in the second period — Folkes potted his 15th of the season with 17:27 left in the frame to give Penn State its first lead of the series, and his linemates picked up the assists on the play.
Guy Gadowsky’s team finally got production outside the top line when Brandon Biro’s wrist shot beat Wisconsin goalie Daniel Lebedeff off a faceoff play. Chase Berger tied up his man, which allowed Biro to drift in, pick up the puck on his forehand with plenty of time and space, and overpower Lebedeff to extend the Penn State lead to 3-1 midway through the second.
Nate Sucese followed that up with his 100th career point to give Penn State a 4-1 advantage with 8:20 left in the second period. A Paul DeNaples point shot bounced off Ludvig Larsson and fell right to Sucese, who deposited the puck into an open net for his milestone point.
Speaking of milestones, sophomore defenseman Evan Bell buried his first NCAA goal to chase Lebedeff out of the goal and stretch the Nittany Lion lead to 5-1 with 3:54 to go in the second period. Bell’s goal came on the power play, and his team held a four-goal advantage and 40-16 lead in shots heading into the second intermission.
Wisconsin got a goal back when Matthew Freytag blasted a one-timer past Jones to extend his team’s lead to 5-2 midway through the third period, but frustration began to boil over among the Badgers.
Both Roman Achan and Seamus Malone were assessed 10-minute misconducts before Alex Limoges scored his fourth goal of the series late in the third period. Limoges’ 21st of the season put the icing on the cake of a fantastic performance by the Nittany Lions.
- Tonight’s game was the dictionary definition of “Penn State hockey.” Guy Gadowsky’s team overwhelmed its opposition with offensive pressure, took away a heavy lead in shots (51-26), and scored a ton of goals. Penn State needed a game like this, especially considering its best center was suspended.
- Speaking of Evan Barratt, Penn State looked just fine without the star center. Adam Pilewicz slotted into the lineup in his place as Alex Limoges shifted over to center, and he picked up two assists. The Nittany Lions also reaped the benefits of production outside that line for the first time all series, which is exactly what the doctor ordered for this team.
- Congratulations are in order for a pair of Nittany Lions: Nate Sucese joined Chase Berger, Andrew Sturtz, and David Goodwin as the only players in program history to score 100 career points with his second-period tally, and Evan Bell potted his first collegiate goal five minutes later. The defenseman beat Wisconsin’s goalie cleanly with a wrister from the point in a moment that served as the culmination of his long journey to Hockey Valley.
The rubber match of this weekend’s series between the Nittany Lions and Badgers will be played at 6 p.m. tomorrow back at Pegula Ice Arena.
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About the Author
Ryan Field was a sea of white in the Nittany Lions’ week five return to Illinois on Saturday.
Despite struggles with bye weeks in recent years, the Nittany Lions feel the time off this year can be beneficial.
Our writers and photographers drove out to Evanston, Illinois, to capture the sights and sounds of Penn State’s fifth win of the season.