Penn State Men’s Hockey Falls to Notre Dame After Dominant Irish 3rd Period
All of Penn State’s shortcomings this season were put on display in a disheartening 7-2 loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Special teams and the third period, two aspects of the game that have prevented Penn State from winning many games, plagued the Nittany Lions on Friday night.
Starting in the first period, Penn State had multiple power-play opportunities to get the jump on a well-coached Notre Dame team. Instead, the Fighting Irish received the two biggest chances on those power plays with the second being a shorthanded breakaway goal late in the first period.
Penn State’s power play went 0-for-5 in the game.
This strike from Graham Slaggert felt like an early backbreaker for the Nittany Lions. Notre Dame’s nation-best penalty kill is now an overall minus one thanks to six short handed goals.
The Fighting Irish built off their shorthanded goal by dominating early in the second period and adding a second goal from Justin Janicke.
However, the Nittany Lions best run of play came after this goal. Connor MacEachern turned a fortuitous bounce into a mini-breakaway where a perfectly placed shot cut Notre Dame’s lead in half.
Penn State would continue to carry the play in the second, but an extremely unlucky bounce revived Notre Dame’s two goal advantage.
Chase Blackmun’s slap shot went wide of the goal, bounced off the end boards and sophomore goaltender Liam Souliere’s back, sliding just beyond the goal line to put Notre Dame up 3-1.
The blue and white continued to battle hard early in the third and a Tyler Gratton goal less than four minutes into the period made it look like the game would come down to the wire.
However, nothing could be further from the truth as coach Jeff Jackson’s squad responded in a big way.
The Fighting Irish rattled off four unanswered goals after Penn State had cut the lead to one, catching defenders flat footed and outworking the Nittany Lions up and down the ice.
It was surprising to not see a Doug Dorr cameo for the second straight game as Penn State gave up six or more goals for the second straight game.
It was far from Souliere’s play that lost Penn State the game as Notre Dame players were able to glide in one-on-one with the goaltender far too many times. However, it was a rough night for a player that had been on his game over his last couple of starts.
Penn State will need to put this one behind them quickly as Big Ten rival Wisconsin was able to pick up a point in the standings by taking Ohio State to overtime.
If Penn State wants to compete with the top teams in the conference, performances like this one and their last game against Ohio State will need to be extinguished. This team has shown signs of growth, but they still are yet to master finishing off games.
Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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