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Penn State Men’s Hockey Loses 3-2 Heartbreaker To No. 6 Wisconsin In Overtime In Home Finale

Penn State men’s hockey (13-16-3, 5-14-3 Big Ten) fell 3-2 to No. 6 Wisconsin (24-8-2, 15-6-1 Big Ten) in overtime in Saturday’s home finale of the season at Pegula Ice Arena.

The Nittany Lions took a 1-0 lead before going down 2-1 in the third period. However, Ryan Kirwan’s goal tied the game and sent it to overtime, when Ben Dexheimer ultimately won it for Wisconsin to hand Penn State a series sweep.

How It Happened

Christian Fitzgerald was assessed a high-sticking penalty six minutes into the game to give Penn State the game’s first power play. The Nittany Lions ripped two shots that missed the net before the Badgers cleared the puck as they killed the penalty.

Aiden Fink sped down the ice with the puck and passed it to Casey Aman in a two-on-one. However, Aman’s shot went straight into Kyle McClellan’s pads.

Penn State got another power play opportunity nearly 10 minutes after its first when Sawyer Scholl was called for boarding. The Nittany Lions maintained possession and tested McClellan multiple times, but their efforts amounted to nothing once more.

Simon Mack ripped a slapshot that McClellan saved. Noticing that the net was left partially exposed, Dylan Lugris picked up the rebound and scored to make it 1-0 Penn State at 17:16 in the first period.

Dane Dowiak and Carson Bantle were handed matching roughing penalties to end the period. Both teams regained full strength shortly after the second period began.

However, Carson Dyck took a tripping penalty to give Wisconsin its first power play of the game. Multiple clearances helped limit the Badgers to only two shots during the unsuccessful one-man advantage.

The penalty box quickly became a revolving door, as Dylan Gratton headed to the sin bin for a roughing penalty. Ben Dexheimer’s shot rebounded off the post, but then, Liam Souliere denied Cruz Lucius with a fantastic save off his pads en route to another penalty kill.

McClellan responded in turn. He denied a two-on-one with his pads when Fink attempted to give Matt DiMarsico a one-timer right in front of the net.

Then, Penn State had another penalty as Jarod Crespo was given a holding minor. Despite controlling the puck for the entire two minutes, Wisconsin didn’t score.

Although they went 0-for-3 on their first three power plays, the Badgers scored. David Silye capitalized on a one-timer from Daniel Laatsch in front of the net to tie it 1-1 at 18:11 in the second period.

Like the first period, the second ended with a Badger getting a penalty. This time, Bantle was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for head contact with 53 seconds left.

Penn State couldn’t get past McClellan during the power play. The Nittany Lions took six shots, including one that hit the post, but the Badgers got a massive kill amid losing one of their key players in Bantle.

Crespo was booked for holding less than three minutes after Wisconsin’s major expired. Fitzgerald scored 30 seconds into the one-man advantage to give the Badgers a 2-1 lead at 7:05 in the third period.

Five minutes later, Penn State fired back. Ryan Kirwan scored to tie it 2-2 at 12:27 in the third period, sending the crowd into a frenzy at Pegula Ice Arena.

Reese Laubach received a boarding minor with 2:43 left in regulation. Souliere’s solid goaltending was a major factor in killing the penalty, and the game went to overtime.

Danny Dzhaniyev nearly scored in front of the net, and a shot from Silye rebounded off the pipe. But then, Dexheimer scored on the five-hole to hand Penn State a 3-2 overtime loss.

Takeaways

  • Although they lost, the Nittany Lions had quite the response after losing 6-0 on Friday. They took the No. 6 team in the country to the brink and came very close to winning it in overtime. That’s still impressive.
  • Liam Souliere and Kyle McClellan were outstanding in goal. Souliere made 28 saves, while McClellan made 38.
  • Like Friday’s game, penalties were a recurrence throughout the matchup. 11 total were taken between both teams, but Wisconsin was the only team to capitalize by doing so just once.

What’s Next

Penn State closes out its regular season at Ohio State, with the first game scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, March 1, in Columbus, Ohio. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland, which means he's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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