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Penn State Men’s Hockey Shutout By No. 6 Wisconsin 6-0

Penn State men’s hockey (13-15-3, 5-13-3 Big Ten) lost to No. 6 Wisconsin (23-8-2, 14-6-1 Big Ten) 6-0 in the opening game of the last home series of the year.

Penn State kept the puck in the offensive zone for a long period before Wisconsin converted on its first shot of the game. The Nittany Lions were outpaced the rest of the way and could never regain their competitiveness during the shutout.

How It Happened

Head coach Guy Gadowsky started with the Ryan Kirwan, Reese Laubach, and Danny Dzhaniyev line with Liam Souliere between the pipes and Dylan Gratton and Simon Mack on defense.

Penn State jumped out of the gate and Alex Servagno drew an early interference penalty on Joe Palodichuk to give the Nittany Lions their first power play of the game. Dzhaniyev got the best look of the power play from the slot, but the shot was knocked aside by Wisconsin goaltender Kyle McClellan.

Things got chippy when Jacques Bouquot tried to slam a puck home as the Badgers couldn’t gain an offensive possession even after killing the penalty. Dane Dowiak was the next Nittany Lion to have a go at the net but was also shoved aside and McClellan remained perfect.

Despite the strong offensive start for the Nittany Lions, Wisconsin finally took the puck away and flew down the ice. William Whitewall found the puck on his stick after a nice pass from Simon Tassy, and the Badger put the puck away and beat Souliere on the first shot he faced all game to put Wisconsin up 1-0.

Things continued to go downhill for Penn State as Casey Aman was called for interference, and Wisconsin went to the power play. The Nittany Lions’ defense held strong but was called for too many men on the ice with just 16 seconds remaining on the original penalty.

Souliere made two saves and Aman exited the box without further incident while the Nittany Lions went back to only being down one man. They couldn’t kill the too many men penalty, though, and Cruz Lucius found the back of the net and gave the Badgers a 2-0 lead.

Xander Lamppa had to be corralled by the referee after being called for boarding after a big hit and the Badgers went back to the power play. It didn’t result in any chances and Lamppa was released from the box after a stoppage for an injured Whitelaw.

Penn State had its first sustained offensive possession in a long time but McClellan still didn’t allow the puck to get past him. The last 30 seconds passed with no chances for either team and Penn State went to the locker room down 2-0.

Wisconsin kept up its dominance through the first few minutes of the second period and Souliere was constantly under pressure. Tanner Paloscik saved another opportunity almost five minutes in by laying out in front of Souliere and blocking the shot by the Badgers.

The Badgers extended their lead after Penn State couldn’t clear the puck out of its zone and Mathieu De St. Phalle beat Souliere to make it 3-0.

The Nittany Lions finally had two good chances in front of the net but Servagno couldn’t put the puck away and Wisconsin skated the other direction near the midway point in the period.

At the other end, Dane Dowiak skated into a scrum in front of the net and was sent to the box for roughing. Less than a minute into the power play, Lucius unleashed a one-timer from the blue line that found the back of the net and pushed the lead to 4-0.

Penn State got another shot at the power play after Carson Bantle was called for roughing with under ten minutes to go in the second period. Wisconsin kept the pressure on and the Nittany Lions struggled to mount any offense even with the man advantage. Bantle was released from the box before Zach Schulz was called for hooking and Penn State went right back to the power play.

The Nittany Lions only managed two shots on the advantage though and went back to full strength empty-handed. The penalty bug struck again and Laubach served two minutes for hooking. Penn State killed off the rest of the period and skated to the third down 4-0 with two seconds left on the penalty.

Laubach exited the box two seconds into the third period as the teams went back and forth throughout the first few minutes. Bouquot had a good look in transition but McClellan couldn’t be beat once again as time ticked on.

Wisconsin struck again with six minutes gone in the third after De St. Phalle recorded his second goal of the night. It got worse 30 seconds later when Jarod Crespo was sentenced to two minutes for tripping. Daniel Laatsch hit just as Crespo was released from the box and the lead grew to 6-0.

After a slew of penalties saw three players get sent to the box, Penn State moved to another power play. It ended like all the others and the shutout continued as Wisconsin moved back to full strength.

Noah Grannan entered at goal with just over four minutes left in the contest after the ice crew timeout. Grannan didn’t see much pressure but managed a save within his first minute of the game. Wisconsin continued to hold the puck in its offensive zone but couldn’t connect as the game came to a close.

Takeaways

  • Wisconsin’s first shot hitting the back of the net was extremely deflating for the Nittany Lions. After the early falter, Souliere continued to struggle and posted a .786 save percentage.
  • The Nittany Lions were gifted an early power play but couldn’t convert before the Badgers ran away with the game. Penn State converted zero times on five penalty chances during the game.
  • Penn State had the penalty bug on Friday and the penalty killers gave up two goals on the Badgers’ eight attempts.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions are back at 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 24, to close out the series with the Badgers.

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About the Author

CJ Doebler

CJ is a junior double majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. He is from Northumberland, Pa, just east of State College. CJ is an avid Pittsburgh sports fan, but chooses to ignore the Pirates' existence. For the occasional random retweet and/or bad take, follow @CDoebler on Twitter. All complaints can be sent to [email protected].

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