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Penn State Men’s Hockey Drops Tough Game To No. 7 Minnesota 4-2

Penn State (7-6-0, Big Ten 1-5-0) couldn’t complete the series sweep over No. 7 Minnesota (8-6-0, Big Ten (5-3-0) at 3M Arena at Mariucci Saturday night.

Unnecessary penalties plagued the Nittany Lions, once again, as Oskar Autio’s 25 saves weren’t enough to bring the team to victory.

How It Happened

Guy Gadowsky started Autio in goal for the second consecutive night.

Minnesota tested Autio with a few solid chances early in the game, but he shut them all down for the Nittany Lions. The first 10 minutes of play went relatively quick, as neither team had taken any penalties or generated grade-A scoring chances.

The pace changed when Minnesota’s Jackson Lacombe took a hooking penalty at 11:29 of the first period, giving Penn State the first power play of the game. Despite a few good looks at the net, the Nittany Lions couldn’t cash in on the man advantage. Paul DeNaples then took a hooking penalty at 13:59 to give the Gophers their first chance on the power play, but they also couldn’t score with an extra skater.

The first period ended in a scoreless tie with Penn State possessing the advantage in shots on goal, outshooting Minnesota 14-10 heading into the intermission.

The second period started off with Minnesota’s Chaz Lucius taking a hooking penalty at just 0:45, giving Penn State its second power play opportunity of the game, but Minnesota, once again, killed the penalty.

The game was still uneventful through five minutes until Jimmy Dowd Jr. scored his first goal of the season at 5:45 of the first period after corralling and firing the rebound from Ben Schoen’s shot off the boards, giving Penn State a 1-0 lead.

The pace picked up after Penn State’s ice-breaking goal, but both Autio and LaFontaine stayed solid in their respective creases. However, Minnesota finally caught a hole in Penn State’s defense, as Sammy Walker sprung out on a semi-breakaway and beat Autio on the high blocker side to tie the game 1-1 at 11:51 of the second period.

Just when the ice started to tilt Minnesota’s way, the Gophers took a bench minor for too many men on the ice at 12:39 of the period, but Penn State couldn’t score on its third power play of the game. Minnesota then tested Autio with a few grade-A chances, but the Finnish goaltender shut them all down. Thus, the second period ended with a 1-1 tie and Penn State outshooting the Gophers 27-19.

The third period started with back-and-forth play, but Connor MacEachern broke that trend when he took a questionable tripping penalty at 4:57. Minnesota capitalized on its second man advantage, as Matthew Knies fired a sharp-angle shot through Autio’s five-hole to give the Gophers a 2-1 lead at 4:57 of the third period.

The Nittany Lions had a chance to respond quickly, as Minnesota’s Brock Faber took a penalty for playing the puck with a broken stick at 5:52, but the Gophers killed its fourth penalty of the game.

Penn State kept its head in the game, though, as Kevin Wall scored on a rebound given up by LaFontaine, tying the game at 2-2 at 12:24 of the third period.

Following the goal, the Nittany Lions took a penalty for having too many men on the ice at 12:24 of the period. Tyler Gratton followed up the penalty with a horrible penalty with a slew foot 30 seconds later, giving Minnesota a 90-second 5-on-3 advantage. Penn State killed the first penalty but couldn’t kill the second, as Mason Nevers scored to give the Gophers a 3-2 lead at 14:49 of the third period.

Sammy Walker then put the nail in the coffin and scored his second goal of the game, an empty-net goal at 18:39 to extend Minnesota’s lead to 4-2.

Penn State couldn’t respond, as it eventually fell to the No. 7 Golden Gophers by a score of 4-2.

Takeaways

  • Penn State’s power play didn’t look too impressive tonight. After a solid night in last night’s victory, the unit couldn’t get much going against Minnesota, especially when it had the chance to respond to Minnestoa’s go-ahead goal in the third period.
  • After keeping the penalties to a minimum through two periods, the Nittany Lions dropped the ball in the third period with multiple unncessary penalties. Gratton’s penalty to give Minnesota the 90-second 5-on-3 chance was horrible. That is a penalty that cannot be taken in a close game like it was, and the team was lucky that it wasn’t a major penalty.
  • Despite allowing three goals, Autio still looked good in goal for the Nittany Lions. Minnesota had multiple chances to put the nail in the coffin, but the finnish goalie kept Penn State in the game.

What’s Next

Penn State will stay in Minnesota for a two-game series against St. Thomas. Puck drop is slated for 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 23, and the game can be streamed on BTN+.

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a senior accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the New York Rangers and Mets, along with every Penn State Athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Rangers and Penn State content or email him at [email protected]

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