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No. 11 Penn State Hockey Ties No. 18 Minnesota 3-3, Earns Extra Big Ten Point In 3-On-3 Overtime

No. 11 Penn State hockey (19-10-4, 11-8-3-1 Big Ten) tied No. 18 Minnesota (14-11-6, 9-6-6-4 Big Ten), but it won a 3-on-3 overtime battle to successfully earn an extra point in the Big Ten’s standings

The two teams came into the game tied at the top of the Big Ten, and they played with an intensity and a sense of urgency to maintain control of their own destiny. Penn State goalie Peyton Jones finished with 22 saves on 25 shots, while Golden Gopher goalie Jack LaFontaine made 54 saves to stonewall the Nittany Lions’ offense for most of the evening.

Aarne Talvitie, Nate Sucese, and Brandon Biro each scored a goal in regulation, while Alex Limoges knocked in the 3-on-3 overtime goal. Sucese finished with three total points and set a new single-season career high in points thanks to the big effort.

How It Happened

Both teams’ sense of urgency to get ahead and stay ahead was felt as soon as the puck dropped in Friday’s contest, with both teams participating in fast-paced, aggressive back-and-forth action.

Penn State dominated the puck early on, outshooting Minnesota 21-5 in the first period. The Nittany Lions’ usual high octane offense consistently applied offensive pressure on Minnesota goalie Jack LaFontaine with many beautifully set-up scoring chances that the Nittany Lions were just unlucky to not cash in on.

Penn State finally capitalized on a scoring on a beautiful tic-tac-toe play in which Nate Sucese found Brandon Biro across the ice. Biro then centered it to a waiting Aarne Talvitie, who deked and slipped the puck home to put the Nittany Lions up 1-0 with five minutes left in the first.

Minnesota knotted things up with 8:39 left in the second period when a Penn State defensive breakdown led to a 3-on-1 advantage in which Minnesota captain Tyler Nanne tapped the puck past goalie Peyton Jones.

Although it once again outshot the Golden Gophers 17-8 in the period, the Nittany Lions’ offense failed to convert in an incredible-defensive second half of the middle frame.

The first half of the third period was more of the same back-and-forth until Nate Sucese buried a point-blank shot from a behind-the-net pass from Brandon Biro. The goal was Sucese’s 11th goal of the year and the 37th point, tying his career high set last year.

Not even 30 seconds later, the goal horn sounded again for an Alex Limoges shot, but upon further review, the goal was called off as it only hit the post.

Two minutes after Sucese’s goal, the Gophers tied it up once again with a screen shot to make things 2-2 with 11 minutes left of action. Things went bad to worse from there, when Minnesota took the lead with eight to go on a rebound shot that Jones just couldn’t get to in time.

With 5:23 left in the contest, Penn State captain Brandon Biro tied it up at 3-3 with a persistent rebounding effort, getting not one, but two shots off after Sucese’s initial shot. With this assist and his third point in the game, Sucese set a career high for points in a single season.

Some controversy transpired late in the third when the referees no-called a trip on Liam Folkes in the middle of a breakaway. Soon after, the referee blew the play dead on a LaFontaine save while the puck was still loose and put into the net by Kevin Wall.

This resulted in regulation ending in a tie and the referees being showered in boos by the Pegula faithful. Although the Nittany Lions, led by the BFL line, dominated the puck during their 5-on-5 overtime shift, things had to be settled in three-on-three overtime.

After an incredibly nervous four-and-a-half minutes of three-on-three hockey, things looked like they were headed to a dreaded shootout. However, Alex Limoges crashed the net after a Cole Hults shot to put one past LaFontaine with 23 seconds left in overtime to seal the extra point for the Nittany Lions.

Takeaways

  • While the first period was one of Penn State’s most explosive offensive periods of the season, they were unable to recapture the intensity from the first period and were stifled by Minnesota’s defense in ensuing frames. They found some of that juice once again in the third, possibly thanks to the Roar Zone getting to rattle LaFontaine, who had a tremendous night.
  • Nate Sucese entered the game two points shy from tying career high season points record. He then took it upon himself to involve himself in all three goals scored in regulation, scoring one and assisting the other two.
  • In a game where Penn State’s Big Ten-leading power play and penalty kill teams could have played a big factor, the referees seemingly swallowed their whistles, not calling a single penalty throughout the game. Their biggest misses were goalie interference call that kept Peyton Jones out of net, and an obvious tripping call on Minnesota during an Liam Folkes breakaway. If it weren’t for these calls, among others, this game could have gone a lot different.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions will be back in Pegula Saturday night for the final game of the season against Minnesota. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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About the Author

Matthew Ogden

Matthew Ogden is a senior double majoring in Marketing and Journalism. He resides in South Jersey and is the cohost of Onward State's podcast, Podward State, and the blog's preeminent expert on Kanye West. Email him your favorite Spotify playlists to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MattOgden98.

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