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No. 11 Penn State Hockey Uses Late Surge To Defeat No. 18 Minnesota 3-2 On Senior Night

While THON’s pep rally was in full swing, No. 11 Penn State hockey (20-10-4, 12-8-3-1 Big Ten) defeated No. 18 Minnesota (14-12-6, 9-7-6-4 Big Ten) 3-2 on senior night.

After falling behind 2-0 in the second period, the Nittany Lions scored three unanswered goals the rest of the way to come out on top. Two of those goals came with less than 10 minutes in the third period.

Evan Barratt scored the first goal for Penn State, while Nikita Pavlychev and Kevin Wall scored two goals in the third period just 31 second apart. Penn State clinched at least one home series in the Big Ten playoffs with Saturday’s victory and is now four points clear at the top of the Big Ten table.

How It Happened

The Golden Gophers started off this game quickly, with Sammy Walker scoring his 11th goal of the season just 2:57 into the game to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.

After both teams went scoreless for a little fewer than 16 minutes, Minnesota extended its lead to 2-0 with a Jackson LaCombe goal. Despite out-shooting Minnesota 15-9 in the first, Penn State took a 2-0 deficit into the second period.

Early in the second period, the Nittany Lions started getting into penalty trouble. Two Penn State penalties allowed for Golden Gopher power plays. that Minnesota was unable to capitalize on. Penn State successfully killed both penalties to keep its deficit at just two.

With 8:42 left in the second period, Evan Barratt got the Nittany Lions on the board with a goal assisted by Liam Folkes and Cole Hults to cut the deficit to just one.

Penn State held Minnesota to no goals in the second period, thanks in large part to the Penn State superb defense allowing just four shots on net. The Golden Golphers took a 2-1 lead into the third period.

Minnesota began the third period firing with four early shots on net, though they didn’t amount to anything. Finally, 5:37 into the third period, Penn State got their first power play opportunity thanks to a holding penalty on Minnesota’s Jack Perbix. It was a disappointing power play for the Nittany Lions, as they were only able to muster two shots on net that didn’t amount to anything.

Just minutes after the Minnesota killed the penalty, Penn State woke up. Nikita Pavlychev tied the game up at 2-2 with a goal assisted by Tyler Gratton and Kris Myllari.

Then just 31 seconds later (!!), Kevin Wall scored to put the Nittany Lions up 3-2. The freshman Carolina Hurricanes draft pick hasn’t had the most productive freshman year, but he came up absolutely huge for Guy Gadowsky’s team, and he produced a moment that could serve as a springboard for his confidence going forward.

Penn State was able to use that momentum to shut down another Minnesota power play, and went on to shut them down for the rest of the game. The Nittany Lions won with a final score of 3-2.

Takeaways

  • Penn State did a great job at limiting the damage when it was forced to play short-handed. The Nittany Lions were forced to deal with three Minnesota power plays and they killed all three of them.
  • Penn State out-shot Minnesota by a staggering 42-23 margin, as it was able to get a large amount of opportunities in Minnesota territory.
  • With this win, the Nittany Lions did themselves a huge favor when it comes to securing a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament. They significantly increased their chances at getting that prized bye, and they secured a top-four finish in the Big Ten (read: home-ice in at least the first round of the tournament).

What’s Next

The next step for the Nittany Lions is currently unclear. If they don’t get the first round bye, they will play in two weeks. If they do get the bye, they will play Saturday, March 14 in the conference semifinals.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a senior majoring in journalism and is suddenly Onward State's managing editor. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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