Game Grades: Men’s Hockey vs. Wisconsin

Story posted March 17, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Alex Rocco

After a 6-3 upset victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Penn State Nittany Lions advanced to the semi-finals where they would go on to face the No. 1 seed Wisconsin Badgers.

The Nittany Lions put up an excellent fight, but ultimately the Badger’s firepower was just too much to handle as they came away with a 4-3 victory in overtime.

Let’s take a deeper dive into Penn State’s performance and see how the Nittany Lions graded out.

Offense: A

Anytime you score four goals and register 45 shots, you’re doing something right offensively. The Nittany Lions did a great job at peppering Wisconsin goalie Robbie Beydoun as he did not look comfortable the entire night.

Leading the way for Penn State was captain Alex Limoges. Limoges tallied a goal and two assists and dominated the puck all game long.

The other two goals were scored by Tim Doherty. Doherty played well against Notre Dame and also had himself a goal against. He continued that momentum against the Badgers and played a really strong game.

Another bright spot for the Nittany Lions was the play of two freshmen; Christian Sarlo and Jimmy Dowd Jr. Sarlo, after scoring against Notre Dame continued his strong play against Wisconsin registering two assists. Dowd Jr. would also tally an assist.

Defense: B-

The Penn State defense knew it had a hard task coming into the game as Wisconsin has the best offense in college hockey, as well as arguably the two best players in college hockey in Cole Caufield and Linus Weissbach.

The Nittany Lions only gave up one goal through two periods and had Caufield and Weissbach very flustered. However, once the third period rolled around, the duo flipped a switch and were dominant.

Weissbach recorded seven shots in the third as well as an assist. Caufield would score the game-tying goal with around six minutes left in the third and he would also pot the game-winner in overtime.

Overall, the Penn State defense played a solid game against the top offense in the nation.

Goaltending: B

Goalie Oskar Autio played well in this game, allowing four goals on 41 shots. Autio started the game locked in as he allowed just one goal on 19 shots and looked like a brick wall.

However, the tide would change in the third quarter when the Badgers started to put more pressure on him and he allowed two goals on 13 shots in the third period. In overtime, he faced nine shots and allowed the game-winning goal on a breakaway by Caufield.

Autio played well against one of the best offenses in the nation as the Badgers typically average around four goals per game.

Special Teams: D

The Penn State special teams unit cost them this game. The power play struggled mightily, as the Nittany Lions went 0-4 on the day.

The turning point of the game came when Wisconsin forward Dylan Holloway got a game misconduct for a hit to the head and Penn State was given a five-minute power play but failed to convert.

If the Nittany Lions were able to capitalize on one of those power plays, they are advancing to the championship game and not the Badgers.

The penalty kill was solid, however Wisconsin did convert on a powerplay late in the game that knotted the score up at three.

Wisconsin has the best power play in the country as they score around 31% of the time so it was a tough task for Penn State to completely shut them down.

Coaching: B+

Head coach Guy Gadowsky did a great job of making sure his team was ready to play. It is especially tough to play two games in two days and the Nittany Lions played extremely well in both of these games.

 

Alex Rocco is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email afr5646@psu.edu.