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Paul DeNaples Plays Hero As Penn State Defeats Wisconsin 5-4 In Overtime

Penn State men’s hockey (11-8-0, 3-7-0 Big Ten) defeated Wisconsin (5-12-1, 3-7-0-1 Big Ten) 5-4 in overtime on Saturday night.

Despite giving up a two-goal lead with under four minutes left in the third period, captain Paul DeNaples came through for the Nittany Lions and led the team to victory.

How It Happened

Guy Gadowsky started Oskar Autio in goal for the fourth consecutive game.

The Nittany Lions didn’t waste any time after puck drop, as Connor MacEachern potted his 11th goal on the season off a rebound from Danny Dzhaniyev at 1:43 of the first period.

Eight seconds after the goal, Wisconsin forward Mathieu De St. Phalle scored his second goal of the series, but Gadowsky successfully challenged the play for offsides and the goal was overturned. The Badgers applied some pressure after that, but it wasn’t enough to beat Autio as the Finnish goaltender made some key saves.

Penn State then built on its lead when Kevin Wall potted his 11th goal of the season off a pass from Ben Schoen at 7:59 of the first period.

Just 15 seconds after his goal, Wall was ejected from the game for making illegal head contact on a hit for the second time this season, giving the Badgers a five-minute power play. Wisconsin then capitalized when Carson Bantle beat Autio on the backdoor to cut Penn State’s lead to 2-1 at 11:19 of the period. The Nittany Lions then killed the rest of the power play.

Despite the long penalty kill, the Nittany Lions kept up the fast pace of play with momentum, as Ben Schoen scored off a rebound from Ryan Kirwan’s shot at 19:07 of the first period, giving Penn State a 3-1 lead. The first period ended with the Nittany Lions outshooting the Badgers 20-4.

The Nittany Lions carried this momentum into the second period, as Danny Dzhaniyev scored a goal on a 2-on-1, extending Penn State’s lead to 4-1 at 1:43 of the second period.

Wisconsin got its third power play of the game when Connor McMenamin went to the box for hooking at 7:01 of the period, but the Nittany Lions killed the penalty.

Penn State generated a few more grade-A chances throughout the second period, but Jared Moe said no to all of them. The second period ended with Penn State leading 42-12 in shots on goal, and Wisconsin’s Jack Gorniak took an interference penalty for knocking down Clayton Phillips as time expired.

The Nittany Lions began the third period on the power play, but Wisconsin killed it off. The Badgers made things interesting when Bantle scored his second goal of the game at 3:26 of the third period, cutting Penn State’s lead to 4-2.

Things kept going Wisconsin’s way when Carson Dyck was called for a very questionable tripping penalty at 6:27 of the third period, but Penn State killed the penalty.

Just under seven minutes left in the game, Roman Ahcan hit Chase McLane up high and got called for cross-checking and roughing, while McLane got a minor penalty for roughing, giving Penn State its second power play of the night. Tyler Gratton then gave Moe a good shove and was called for the minor penalty, ending Penn State’s power play early.

The Badgers then capitalized on its short power play, as Carson Ceulemans fired the puck through a screen that beat Autio at 16:19 of the third period, cutting Penn State’s lead to 4-3. I’m sure you can guess what happened next, as Jack Gorniak shot the puck through another screen and tied the game with 39 seconds remaining in the third period. Thus, the game went to overtime.

Penn State kept the puck to start overtime, and captain Paul DeNaples scored the game-winning goal on the backhand to cap off a 5-4 victory for the Nittany Lions.

Takeaways

  • Penn State responded very well after giving up a two-goal lead with less than four minutes remaining in the third period. The arena was loud, and the team could have easily folded, but the Nittany Lions settled down and did what they do best: score goals. Say what you will, but this team is certainly not mentally fragile anymore.
  • Ben Schoen had a great night, notching a goal and an assist. After having a quiet last few games, the freshman is building on his solid season and made his presence felt on the ice tonight.
  • Despite not having his name mentioned much in the last few games, either, Danny Dzhaniyev capped the series with a great game tonight. The freshman was all over the place in both games and finished the strong performance by scoring a goal tonight.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions will take on Maine in their final game of 2021 on Friday, December 31. Puck drop is slated for 5 p.m. 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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