Caufield Hat Trick Brings 7-3 Victory, Series Sweep for Badgers Over Nittany Lions

Story posted November 24, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Kyle Cannillo

MADISON, Wis. — Down goes Penn State again, as Wisconsin finishes the two-game sweep with a 7-3 victory in Game 2.

Penn State’s first period was rather sluggish, and it snowballed quickly as Wisconsin made them pay.

It didn’t take long for the Badgers to get on the board. Wisconsin’s leading scorer Linus Weissbach got things going, as he earned the game’s first goal at 6:43 in the first period. 

Under three minutes later, Dominick Mersch tallied another one for Wisconsin. Mersch crashed the net and jumped on a rebound.

But in the end, special teams were the story all night long.

Penn State freshman Xander Lamppa took a slashing penalty at 16:21 in the first. That’s when one of the nation’s most lethal scorers, Cole Caufield, did what he does best.

On the rush, Caufield used his speed through center, dangled multiple Nittany Lions, and ripped one past goalie Liam Souliere to give Wisconsin a 3-0 lead. Ultimately, it was a great play by the Canadiens’ first rounder, but Penn State would have liked to prevent the chance from ever happening.

The special teams woes didn’t stop there. Penn State would be awarded a power play just seconds after Wisconsin’s third goal but quickly gave it up by taking a penalty of their own.  

It appears head coach Guy Gadowsky settled the team down during the first intermission because their second period was far better.

Captain Alex Limoges got the Nittany Lions on the board, as he put it home in front. Jimmy Dowd Jr. sent the pass down low and Limoges made no mistake. It was Limoges’ first goal of the 2020-21 season.

Much like the first period, Penn State’s power play was awful in the second. Wisconsin took a pair of penalties late in the period, but it didn’t seem to matter. Instead of scoring to make it a one-goal game, Penn State got scored on. A shorthanded goal from Tarek Baker gave Wisconsin a 4-1 lead with under a minute to play in the second frame.

After a backbreaking goal at the end of the second, all hope was lost for Penn State in the third. Wisconsin took advantage of Nittany Lions mistakes to score two goals in the first two minutes of the third frame. Both Sam Stange and Cole Caufield got their third goals of the series.

Penn State countered with two goals of their own. First, Lamppa earned his first career goal. Later Penn State would score on the power play for the first time all season. It was Clayton Phillips who walked the blue line and fired a bullet to the back of the net.

But Caufield put it in Penn State’s empty net for a hat trick.

Goalie Ribbie Beydoun was once again excellent this weekend for the Badgers. Beydoun finished the series with 82 saves and a .931 save percentage.

Wisconsin currently leads the Big Ten standings with 13 points in six games played. The Badgers are 4-1-1 and will get their out-of-conference weekend against Arizona State this Saturday and Sunday.

Penn State drops to 0-4 on the season and has really struggled to find its footing. The team is inexperienced and far less talented from a year ago but has played Gadowsky’s system well enough to outshoot the opponent in three out of the four defeats.

Penn State will challenge the Michigan Wolverines next, who are considered one for the nation’s most dominant and talented teams.

 

Kyle Cannillo is a broadcast journalism major at Penn State. To contact him, please email kcannillo1@gmail.com.