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Penn State Men’s Hockey Falls To Wisconsin 4-1 In Series Opener

Penn State men’s hockey (10-8-0, 2-7-0 Big Ten) fell to Wisconsin (5-11-1, 3-6-0-1 Big Ten) by a score of 4-1 on Friday night.

Despite a hard-fought third period, the Nittany Lions were unable to come back after a second period that saw them end with a three-goal deficit.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions started with senior Oskar Autio between the pipes, while Wisconsin opted for junior Jared Moe as its starting goaltender.

The first period got off to a slow start, bolstering a lot of back-and-forth hockey that saw both teams unable to bury the puck in the net.

With just under two minutes left in the period, Penn State sophomore Chase McLane got called for interference, sending Wisconsin to the first power play of the game. Ultimately, the Badgers were unable to capitalize on the power play before the period ended.

Despite a lack of scoring, the first period had some good scoring chances. Wisconsin ended the period with 8 shots to Penn State’s 14.

Things got interesting quickly as the second period began.

Penn State went back to the penalty kill a short 2:41 into the period, with sophomore Tyler Gratton getting called for goalie interference on Wisconsin’s Jared Moe. The Nittany Lions successfully killed the penalty with help from Autio, who saved three shots on a nearly empty net, keeping the game scoreless.

Wisconsin soon took the lead of the game, however, with senior Terek Baker scoring off a pass from Sam Stange at 7:02 of the period.

Four minutes later, the game took a chippy turn when senior Roman Ahcan knocked Oskar Autio to the ice, who struggled to get up but ultimately stayed in the crease. Penn State captain Paul DeNaples went after Ahcan and was assessed a five-minute major penalty, served by sophomore Tyler Paquette, and a game misconduct after grabbing Ahcan’s face mask.

Ahcan’s penalties were pretty unclear for everyone, with even the Penn State Twitter being confused about what penalties were being assessed. The teams began skating 4-on-4 before any Wisconsin penalties were officially announced, reportedly on account of a two-minute roughing minor assessed to Roman Ahcan, served by Sam Stange while Ahcan served a 10-minute misconduct.

Once Ahcan’s penalty expired, Wisconsin returned to the power play for three minutes. Penn State, now without a top defenseman in Paul DeNaples, struggled. Taking advantage of DeNaples’ major penalty, sophomore Mathieu De St. Phalle made the game 2-0 for Wisconsin at 12:47 of the second.

Still on the penalty kill, Penn State fought hard but after an initial save on the puck, Autio lost the puck and senior Brock Caufield capitalized, scoring at 14:23 and making it 3-0 in favor of Wisconsin. Tarek Baker and freshman Corson Ceulemans picked up the assists.

The period calmed down in the last five minutes, ending with Wisconsin up 3-0 with 17 shots on goal to Penn State’s 7 for the period.

The third period remained relatively quiet, going nearly 15 minutes without any penalties or goals. With 6:25 left in the period, Penn State got on the board when Tyler Gratton scored with assists from freshman Carson Dyck and freshman Simon Mack.

Roman Ahcan received a penalty for slashing at 16:52, sending the Nittany Lions to their first power play of the night. Penn State pulled Autio for the extra skater with 1:10 remaining on the man advantage.

With the net still empty, Ahcan’s penalty ended and set him up for an empty-netter, assisted by Brock Caufield, making the game 4-1.

Despite their best efforts in the third, the Nittany Lions couldn’t come back and fell to the Badgers 4-1, with 14 shots on goal to Wisconsin’s 17.

Takeaways

  • Penn State’s penalty kill looked pretty good, successfully killing two Wisconsin power plays before losing Paul DeNaples to his game misconduct. With an integral piece of their defense missing, the Nittany Lions gave up two power play goals for Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin snapped a seven-game winless streak with tonight’s win. Penn State will need to regroup and try to avoid penalties as much as possible if there’s a chance of winning tomorrow, especially since it’s coming off of a hard-fought game tonight. In addition, the Nittany Lions only went on the power play once. That will be something to remember tomorrow, as avoiding penalty kills seemed to be one of Wisconsin’s strengths in this game.
  • The second period fight between Paul DeNaples and Roman Ahcan was the determining factor of the game. Until Wisconsin’s three minute power play, the two teams looked evenly matched and Penn State had only been down by one. Penn State should have a good chance of coming back and tying the series tomorrow based on the first and third periods of this game.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions will close out their series against Wisconsin in a game tomorrow, December 11, at 7 p.m. The game will be available to watch on B1G+.

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About the Author

Caitlin Burns

Caitlin is a senior majoring in English. She watches Dance Moms from the beginning three times a year and thinks she's a barista because she can make one drink from Starbucks. She can usually be found taking a nap or being unreasonably angry at small inconveniences. You can contact her at [email protected]

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