Minnesota Hands Penn State Its Fourth Straight Loss
No. 5 Minnesota defeated Penn State 3-1 in game one of its final home series of the season.
Despite three of its top players still traveling home from the Olympics in Beijing, Minnesota has now won five games in a row.
Although the Nittany Lions played tough against a top team in the nation, coach Guy Gadowsky wasn’t pleased with his team making mental mistakes.
“We find ways to shoot ourselves in the foot,” coach Gadowsky said.
Gadowsky also mentioned that he felt his squad showed a bit of mental weakness in the game.
The early parts of the first period featured both squads feeling each other out for an opening, with the bulk of the play taking place in the neutral zone.
With about 15 minutes to go in the first, the Golden Gophers began to take control cycling the puck in the offensive zone.
Minnesota’s hard work eventually paid off with Rhett Pitlick securing a big rebound and steering it into a gaping Penn State cage.
This goal was the third straight Minnesota tally scored by Pitlick going back to its series against Ohio State.
Despite being dominated in possession for most of the period, Penn State found its offensive footing in the final five minutes of the frame. The Nittany Lions were able to cycle the puck a bit and keep it in Minnesota’s end.
Penn State’s solid offensive play paid off when Ryan Kirwan pounced on a puck in the slot, firing it home to tie the game 1-1.
Penn State’s momentum was quelled shortly after the goal as freshman Dylan Lugris took a penalty with less than a minute to play in the first period.
Minnesota failed to score on the power play that continued into the second period but reestablished its offensive game for the first couple minutes of the second.
Around five minutes into the second frame, Penn State was given its first power. Bryce Brodzinski was caught tripping for the Golden Gophers.
The Nittany Lions were able to keep possession in the offensive zone for most of the man-advantage opportunity, but the Golden Gophers were blocking shots left and right.
Minnesota went back on the power play after Ben Copeland was called for a boarding penalty. Penn State was able to kill off the penalty thanks to stellar play from its goaltender Liam Souliere.
Souliere even stopped a breakaway shortly after the penalty kill. However, Penn State would head right back to the kill after a Clayton Phillips slash.
Penn State killed off the penalty, but shortly after Jack Perbix found a loose puck in front and buried his chance to put Minnesota up 2-1.
Penn State was able to create one final chance in the period with the fourth line of Lugris, Tyler Paquette and Carson Dyck nearly connecting for a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal. However, the puck barely slipped off of Dyck's stick.
That 2-1 score would hold through the rest of the second period as the game headed to the final frame with the Golden Gophers leading.
Penn State had a big chance with about 10 minutes to play in the third, but it was shut down by Minnesota netminder Justen Close.
The Golden Gophers had a chance to sink the dagger into Penn State with a two-on-one opportunity, but Souliere came up large yet again for the Nittany Lions.
Souliere finished the contest making 32 saves.
Penn State pulled Souliere with less than two minutes to play, but the Nittany Lions could not create any notable chances.
Jack Perbix finished off the empty netter in the dying seconds to secure a 3-1 win for the Golden Gophers.
Despite suffering the loss, Penn State captain Paul Denaples said, “We can play with guys like that (Minnesota) and they aren’t any better than us.”
Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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