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No. 9 Penn State Hockey Drops 4-3 Heartbreaker vs. Wisconsin

No. 9 Penn State hockey (18-10-3, 10-8-3 Big Ten) opened its weekend set against Wisconsin (11-17-1, 6-14-1-1 Big Ten) with a 4-3 defeat in Madison.

Badger star Dylan Holloway scored the game-winning goal with 1:04 to play in the third period. Penn State controlled the pace of play for most of the game’s second half, but the Badgers were backstopped by a monster 35-save performance from goalie Daniel Lebedeff. Alex Limoges and Liam Folkes each scored their 100th career point in the defeat, and Paul DeNaples added a goal for Guy Gadowsky’s team.

Peyton Jones made 23 saves on 27 shots during a rare off-night in the defeat.

How It Happened

Penn State was a bit flat to start Friday’s game, and Wisconsin capitalized with 10:43 to play in the opening frame. Tyler Vorlicky slipped a backhand shot past Peyton Jones after he collected the puck following a miscommunication by the Penn State defense.

Josh Ess made it 2-0 in favor of the Badgers just 11 seconds after Vorlicky’s first goal of the 2019-20 season. Ess was left wide open after Cole Hults poke-checked Linus Weissbach, and he placed a wrist shot beautifully into the bottom corner of Jones’ goal.

Liam Folkes stopped the bleeding by slapping the puck into the top corner of Daniel Lebedeff’s net with 9:50 left in the period. Folkes’ 10th of the year went in just 42 seconds after Ess’ tally to cap off a stretch of three goals in 53 seconds, and he got his 100th career point with the tally. Alex Limoges also recorded his 100th career point with the only assist on the goal.

Wisconsin restored its two-goal advantage after Max Zimmer scored right off a face-off. Zimmer backhanded the puck home from the faceoff circle with 4:35 left in the first. The Badgers took that 3-1 advantage and a 12-6 lead in shots on goal into the first intermission after a wild opening period of play.

Despite getting off to a sluggish start in the second period, Liam Folkes registered point No. 101 in his career with his second goal of the game. He corralled a rebound and backhanded the puck past Lebedeff after assists from Paul DeNaples and Limoges, but more importantly, Penn State’s deficit went back down to just a goal with 11:57 left in the frame.

Penn State evened up the contest at 3-3 when defenseman Paul DeNaples picked out a beauty of a wrist shot with 7:56 left in the second period. DeNaples’ snipe came out of nowhere a bit, as the blueliner isn’t known for his goal-scoring abilities. At any rate, Cole Hults and Brandon Biro were credited with the assists on DeNaples’ third of the year, which pushed momentum firmly in Penn State’s favor.

The second period ended with the teams all square at 3-3. but not before lots of frenetic action on both ends of the ice. Shots on goal were 20-18 in favor of the Nittany Lions after 40 minutes of play.

Penn State and Wisconsin continued to exchange grade-A chances at the start of a back-and-forth, evenly-matched third period. Guy Gadowsky’s team got a huge flurry of more than five top-class scoring chances that lasted two or three minutes in the middle of the third, but Daniel Lebedeff kept the game all square at 3-3.

Despite dominating for most of the second half of the game, Wisconsin’s Dylan Holloway scored the game-winning goal with 1:04 to play in the third period. Holloway, a potential top-10 draft pick in this summer’s NHL Draft, blasted a one-timer beyond Peyton Jones after a Badger rush.

Takeaways

  • Penn State definitely got off to a slow start on Friday night, and it nearly put the team in a hole it couldn’t dig out of. Wisconsin was the aggressor and pushed the pace of play throughout the opening 25-or-so minutes, and Penn State’s defense couldn’t do much to limit the Badgers’ chances and puck possession.
  • Man, Wisconsin’s defense is brutal, but Daniel Lebedeff absolutely stole this one for the Badgers. Penn State is a great team up front, but the Badgers nearly let the game get away from them in the second and third periods. Denis Smirnov, Kevin Wall, and Sam Sternschein got the best chances of the second period, and about half of Penn State’s lineup could’ve scored in the third.
  • Penn State out-shot Wisconsin 33-15 over the final two periods, but that somehow wasn’t enough to pick up a win. It’s not like the Nittany Lions were firing weak shots from the point and boards, either. The Badgers were completely out-played over most of the game’s second half, and many of Penn State’s shots were first-class scoring chances.

What’s Next?

Penn State and Wisconsin will close out this weekend’s series at 8 p.m. on Saturday back at the Kohl Center in Madison.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

Mikey is a senior majoring in journalism who's a Senior Editor for Onward State. He's from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, Mikey is way too obnoxious 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. You can follow Mikey on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino in order to fill your timeline with all the hockey/golf content you'll ever need. You can also send all hate mail, death threats, and your vote for the best chicken parm in State College to [email protected]

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