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Penn State Men’s Hockey Swept By No. 13 Notre Dame In 3-0 Shutout Loss

Penn State men’s hockey was shut out 3-0 on the road by No. 13 Notre Dame in the second game of a two-game series. The game was a must-win for the Nittany Lions for Big Ten Tournament seeding, so losing means there will most likely be a tough road matchup in the first round of the tournament.

Tonight’s result also means that Notre Dame has completed the season sweep of Penn State. The Fighting Irish have always been a difficult team for Penn State to play against, as it has never defeated them two or more consecutive times

How It Happened

Penn State opted to change the lineup for game two, with Ryan Kirwan and Kenny Johnson returning to the top line. Oskar Autio returned as the starting goaltender following a night off in game one.

The first ten minutes of the first period consisted mostly of turnovers and short-lived opportunities to score for both teams. Autio made several impressive saves against Notre Dame, while Penn State had multiple good chances that were stopped by goaltender Ryan Bischel.

At 10:19 of the first period, Notre Dame scored first. Tyler Carpenter hit a one-timer on a pass that came from behind Autio and into the net, giving the Fighting Irish an early lead. The Fighting Irish are 13-1-0 when scoring first.

Penn State’s best shift of the period came with around five minutes remaining, when the Nittany Lions had multiple shots that barely missed or were barely stopped by Notre Dame. One of those shots came from Connor MacEachern, who appeared to be in a one-on-one situation very close to the goal, although he ended up narrowly missing the net on a wrist shot.

Right after Penn State’s impressive shift, Ben Schoen made a huge hit on Trevor Janicke, slamming him on the ice near Penn State’s goal. The play caused pushing and shoving after the whistle, which resulted in both players receiving penalties. Things were uneventful during the 4-on-4 sequence and neither team scored.

The first period ended in a 1-0 Notre Dame lead. Although the Nittany Lions didn’t play badly, Notre Dame outshot them 11-9.

Penn State immediately came out firing in the second period. Following an opening faceoff victory, the Nittany Lions had a solid first shift and almost scored on at least two occasions, but scoring on Bischel proved to be challenging.

Following Penn State’s near-miss, Notre Dame moved the puck across the ice with little difficulty. Ryder Rohlston retrieved a high pass right in front of Autio and shot what almost was a goal, but the goaltender made a very impressive save to deny the Irish of a second goal. The blade on one of Autio’s skates ironically fell out and had to be popped back a few minutes later.

About halfway through the second period at 10:16, Notre Dame scored again. Jesse Lansdell sniped a shot from the face-off circle from a tough angle for Autio to stop, giving the Irish a 2-0 lead.

Shortly after the goal, Notre Dame captain Jake Pivonka tripped Ben Schoen, yet somehow both players got sent to the penalty box. The officials ruled that Ben Schoen embellished the trip, so both players received two-minute minors.

Penn State’s difficult night continued. Chase McLane appeared to hurt his leg following a hit against the boards. McLane had to be helped off the ice and did not put any pressure on his leg.

The second period ended 2-0 Notre Dame, but Penn State outshot the Irish 25-20.

Notre Dame continued to control the game in the third period. Although Penn State continued to take chances, the game was very uneventful throughout the final sequence.

With three minutes remaining in the game, Max Ellis had a breakaway and seemingly had Autio and the Penn State defense beat. However, he lost his footing and barely missed the net. It was the most exciting chance of the period thus far.

It didn’t matter, though. Autio was pulled for the one-man advantage, and Notre Dame scored on an empty-netter, making the score 3-0.

Takeaways

  • Scoring first is important, particularly against Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish came into the game 13-1-0 when scoring first, so giving up the first goal of the game allowed Notre Dame to get more comfortable and establish its style of play on the Nittany Lions.
  • Execution could have been better for the Nittany Lions. Sure, Notre Dame blocked 28 shots, but coming away from a game with 35 shots and no goals isn’t good enough. This is the second time in three games that the Nittany Lions didn’t find the back of the net, which needs to change.
  • Penn State will not have a home series in the Big Ten tournament. This was a must-win game, and failing to do so means Notre Dame (31 points) will be too far away for the Nittany Lions to catch (17 points).

What’s Next

Penn State will not play again until later this month, when Minnesota comes to Pegula Ice Arena on February 18 and 19 for the final home series of the regular season. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a freshman majoring in journalism. From the Maryland side of the D.C. suburbs, Nolan likes using Old Bay and is a diehard Washington sports fan, which can be both difficult and rewarding. If you want to debate anything about sports with him, follow him on Instagram @_nolanwick or on Twitter @nolan_wick.

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