Penn State Captures Sweep Over Wisconsin With 7-2 Victory In Wear White Game
After taking down Wisconsin 4-1 in Friday’s contest, Penn State continued its winning ways on Saturday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
The Nittany Lions captured their first Big Ten sweep of the season defeating the Badgers 7-2 in the annual “Wear White” game.
The Penn State student section was in full-force filling up nearly 45 minutes before puck drop and freshman forward Ryan Kirwan credited the fans for playing a pivotal role in the contest.
“It's amazing. It's the best atmosphere in college hockey,” Kirwan said. “The fans were going tonight and we really built off it.”
The blue and white fed off the energetic home crowd and outshot the Badgers 14-2 however, both teams could not find the back of the net.
The scoreless affair did not remain for much longer when just five minutes into the period Kirwan scored after some beautiful passes by sophomore defender Jimmy Dowd Jr. and senior forward Ben Copeland.
Later in the period, Kirwan fired a shot past goalie Jared Moe for his second goal of the game and fourth goal of the weekend.
The DeWitt, New York, native is third on the team in goals and he credits his success to his linemates.
“I credit my linemates a lot just finding me in the open areas,” Kirwan said, “I thought we did a good job of getting pucks behind the defense and it paid off.”
After serving two minutes for an interference penalty junior forward Tyler Gratton came right onto the ice and found the back of the net after an excellent pass by junior forward Kevin Wall. The goal came with 46 seconds remaining in the period.
The Nittany Lions took a commanding three-goal advantage heading into the third period and looked to keep their foot on the gas.
However, the Badgers would not go down without a fight as Carson Bantle scored just one minute into the period cutting the deficit to two goals.
Just two minutes later Bantle scored his second goal of the period making it a one-goal contest with Wisconsin having all the momentum.
Coach Guy Gadowsky sensing his team needed to refocus called a timeout so things did not continue to get out of hand for Penn State.
“Coach Fisher came by and said that we have to slow things down and he was right,” Gadowsky said. “The message was to just settle down and get back to our game.”
The blue and white took that message to heart and after the timeout came out firing on all cylinders.
The Nittany Lions found themselves on the power play just five minutes into the period and they capitalized on their opportunity as freshman forward Ben Schoen wristed a shot past Moe to regain the two-goal lead.
Just 43 seconds later freshman forward Danny Dzhaniyev lit the lamp to give his team a three-goal lead and the home crowd was fired up. Dzhaniyev’s goal prompted Wisconsin coach Tony Granato to change goalies and bring in Cameron Rowe.
Penn State was not done scoring when midway through the period junior forward Connor MacEachern joined the scoring party as he tallied a power-play goal.
Just three minutes later the blue and white added one more tally from Schoen, who recorded his first career multi-goal performance.
“Coach and a lot of other guys on the team say that I pass up the shot a little bit too much,” Schoen said. “Tonight I just shot the puck more and obviously a couple bounces my way.
After six goals in 10 minutes, the Nittany Lions shut down the Wisconsin offense in the final minutes coming away with a dominating win.
Penn State outshot Wisconsin 51-22 in the contest and had 13 players register a point.
Dowd Jr. and Schoen led the way in points tallying three assists and two goals and an assist respectively. Senior goalie Oskar Autio made 20 saves in the victory.
Penn State will conclude its four-game homestand next Friday and Saturday when it takes on Ohio State.
Alex Rocco is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org