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No. 8 Penn State Men’s Hockey Struggles With Discipline In 3-1 Loss To No. 1 Minnesota

No. 8 Penn State Men’s Hockey (10-1-1, 5-1-1 Big Ten) was unable to complete the sweep over No. 1 Minnesota (8-4, 4-2 Big Ten) as the Nittany Lions drop their second game of the season by a score of 3-1.

Bryce Brodzinski scored two more goals for Minnesota to go along with a dominating effort from Justen Close to push Minnesota passed Penn State despite getting outshot the entire game.

How It Happened

Penn State entered Friday night’s game eyeing a sweep of a two-game series against the top-ranked Gophers after taking game one 4-2. Liam Souliere got the start for Penn State, his sixth straight start. Justen Close started for Minnesota.

After a lot of back-and-forth hockey for the first ten minutes, Ture Linden committed the game’s first penalty. Despite a lot of time in the offensive zone, Minnesota was unable to find the back of the net on the man advantage.

Following the successful kill, Penn State went on the attack and Christian Sarlo found the back of the net for his second in as many nights.

The Golden Gophers went back on the kill as Ashton Calder was whistled for tripping. Minnesota was never able to get set up as the Nittany Lions killed their second penalty of the period.

Penn State’s domination of Minnesota carried over into the opening period of game two as the Nittany Lions led 1-0 after one.

Much like the first period, both teams struggled to generate much offense to start the second period. The first power play of the second came when junior defenseman Mike Koster committed an interference penalty. Minnesota nearly had a 2-on-0 rush the other way following a Penn State turnover, but the play was whistled down due to offsides. The Golden Gophers killed the penalty with ease as the Nittany Lions’ struggles with the man advantage continued.

The Nittany Lions would go back to the man advantage moments later as Matthew Knies was sent to the box for two minutes for hooking Penn State defenseman Jimmy Dowd Jr. Just 44 seconds into the man advantage, Kevin Wall was sent to the box for a hooking penalty. Neither team generated much in the 1:16 of 4-on-4 time, as the game went back to even strength entering the final ten minutes of regulation.

Minnesota went back on the power play when Tyler Gratton committed an interference penalty off of an offensive zone faceoff. Liam Souliere made an excellent save to rob Minnesota of a goal in the front of the net to preserve Penn State’s lead.

Mason Nevers redirected a shot from the point to beat Souliere and tie the game up at one. The goal came on the power play and was Nevers’ fifth of the season.

Another hooking penalty by Penn State sent Minnesota back to the power play with the chance to take its first lead of the series. Liam Souliere stayed hot and made an amazing pad save shutting down Minnesota on a breakaway to keep the game tied at one.

Despite a late push, the second period came to an end with the game tied at one despite Penn State significantly outshooting the Golden Gophers.

Penn State committed its sixth penalty of the game early in the third period, as Xander Lamppa was picked to serve the too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty. Minnesota did not score on the power play, but Bryce Brodzinski beat Souliere for his fourth of the season and second of the series to give the Golden Gophers a 2-1 lead.

Brodzinski wasn’t finished, as he added his third goal of the series off a bad turnover by Jimmy Dowd Jr. to extend Minnesota’s lead to 3-1.

There was a brief stoppage of play in the latter part of the final period after the glass broke due to a big hit by Chase McLane on Logan Cooley.

Needing a goal fast to stay afloat, Penn State was gifted a power play with six and a half minutes remaining in the third period. Despite getting set up, the Nittany Lions once again failed to convert on the man advantage.

Souliere went to the bench for the extra attacker with 3:29 remaining in the third period. Minnesota did not score on the empty net as the game ended with a final score of 3-1.

Takeaways

  • While the struggles on the power play continued for the Nittany Lions, their discipline was even worse, as they committed six penalties on the night. Despite Minnesota only scoring one goal on the man advantage, six penalties are too much and proved to be costly in Penn State’s quest for the sweep.
  • Goaltender play was big in this one as both netminders did an excellent job to keep their respective teams in the game. Souliere was solid for Penn State but Justen Close was a little better. The senior stopped all but one Penn State shot as he registered his seventh win of the season.

What’s Next?

Penn State will return home to Pegula Ice Arena to host Michigan State on Friday, November 18. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

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About the Author

Devon Craley

Devon is a junior studying sports journalism. He has the genuine misfortune of being a Philadelphia sports fan...IYKYK. Send your hot takes and preferably your freezing cold takes on Twitter to @devon3134. Devon is also your friendly, neighborhood State College movie nerd.

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