Penn State Swept After Shootout Loss
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State’s prolific offensive attack and the tight pressure wasn’t enough to lead them past the Big Ten’s best, as they tied Notre Dame 2-2 but fell in a shootout on Saturday to get swept in the weekend series.
The first two shooters for the Nittany Lions and the Fighting Irish were stopped by the netminders. In round three, Irish defenseman Jordan Gross slid one by goalie Peyton Jones and junior right winger Andrew Sturtz was stopped for the second-time minutes later to secure Notre Dame’s 21 victories.
Sturtz, who scored Penn State’s first goal near the end of the first period, was taken down on a breakaway 3:24 into overtime and received a penalty shot. In Penn State’s best opportunity to win the game, Sturtz couldn’t get the puck over Notre Dame goalie Cale Morris’ left pad.
The No. 17 Nittany Lions (13-12-5) blew a 2-0 lead Friday, getting outscored 5-1 in the final two periods in their 5-3 loss to the No. 2 Fighting Irish (21-5-2). The Nittany Lions are now 0-4 against the Fighting Irish this season.
Leading the way for Notre Dame was Morris, who turned away 55 Penn State shots. The sophomore already leads the NCAA with 21 wins and a .951 save percentage coming in. Notre Dame was fantastic on the road coming in, having a road record of 11-1. For that great overall and road record, this was their first shootout of the season.
Penn State got hotter towards the end of the third period, taking the momentum into overtime and dominating control of the puck.
Notre Dame was stuffed in overtime, being held to zero shots and relying on Morris.
Opposite of last night’s game, it was the Irish who quickly went up 2-0 on two shot that was tough breaks for Jones. Irish right winger Cal Burke notched padded his team lead in goals with his 13 six and a half minutes into the first period.
The Nittany Lions had the response. Sturtz got his 12 of the season with just over three minutes left in the first and then early in the second out of a power play, sophomore right winger Liam Folkes put one by Morris off some nice passing.
Jones settled in, finishing with 32 saves on 34 shots and benefitted from a much better Nittany Lion offense that held the puck longer and held the Fighting Irish to only eight shots in the second period.
The third period was a tug of war with no winner. Both teams wouldn’t budge an inch and the puck was constantly moving zones.
The most underrated stat of the night was Notre Dame’s 16 blocked shots, including 10 blocks in the first period to prevent Penn State from establishing any rhythm.
Penn State’s streak of winless games was stretched to seven consecutive games.
Up next for Penn State is a trip out to Michigan State, who the Nittany Lions split their first series with back in November.
The Fighting Irish will head back home to host the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes in a series that could decide who wins the Big Ten regular season.
Matthew Harvey is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and history. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senior / Broadcast Journalism and History