Penn State Falls Short vs. Top-Ranked Minnesota
In the first game of their inaugural home Big Ten series against the top team in the nation, the Nittany Lions (4-11-1, 0-3-0) were edged 3-2 by the Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-2-3, 4-0-1).
The matchup marked the first game of the new year for Penn State and the first since the 8-2 loss at the hands of Boston College two weeks ago.
Entering that game the Eagles were the highest ranked opponent in program history, but that changed when the prestigious Golden Gophers visited Happy Valley.
“We’re always optimistic, we had a bit of a preview against a great team in Boston College and I think we learned something from that,” said Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky.
With many predicting a blowout, the Nittany Lions used the doubts as motivation and started well, registering the first two shots of the game.
The momentum was short lived as Minnesota responded with the game’s first goal, as a missed shot attempt in the slot went back to Brady Skjel, who ripped a shot through a screen and past McAdam at 2:37. Connor Reilly and A.J. Michaelson assisted the goal.
The Gophers had a chance to extend the lead just over halfway through the period when a power play turned into a two-man advantage, but Penn State was able to kill both penalties.
The Nittany Lions had a power play of their own late in the period, but they were unable to cash in on the opportunity.
Minnesota came out sharper in the second period after trying to be too fancy and look for pretty plays in the first. Their coach Don Lucia, who recently coached Team USA at the World Juniors, was visibly upset with the decisions his players were making early on.
Freshman goalie, Eamon McAdam had to make a few big saves early in the period, including a breakaway attempt from Sam Warning.
Penalties came back to haunt Penn State as their next trip to the sin bin led to Minnesota’s second goal of the game. After a save by McAdam, the
puck squirted to the point to Mike Reilly, who found room through a screen to beat McAdam at 11:34.
Penn State put themselves right back in the game late in the period when Taylor Holstrom was left alone in the slot and redirected a pass from Goodwin to put his team within one.
In the third period, the Nittany Lions didn’t waste much time putting the crowd into a frenzy, as David Glen had a beautiful redirection of a point shot from Nate Jensen to knot the game at 2, just 3:45 into the period.
“To even it up at that point in the game was a big boost for us,” said Holstrom. “It gave us life and hope that we’re with these guys who are number one in the country.”
The crowd at Pegula was at the edge of their seat for the remainder of the gam, as goaltender Eamon McAdam made save after save to keep his team in the game.
After a huge save on a 2-on-1 break, McAdam was yet again screened on a shot from the point that found the back of the net, after hitting the post to put the Golden Gophers up 3-2 at 15:59 of the period.
The Nittany Lions had a few chances to tie it late, but ran out of time and lost a tough one.
McAdam finished with 42 saves on the night, while his teammates praised his effort.
“Eamon stood on his head tonight,” Holstrom claimed.
Penn State will look to build on their effort tomorrow night against the Gophers in a deemed “whiteout”. The game is set for 7 p.m. and can be heard on ComRadio.
Tim Behan is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism
Tim Behan is a sophomore from Freehold, New Jersey majoring in broadcast journalism. He is a die hard hockey fan and loves the New Jersey Devils. He enjoys and follows all sports and it has been the main focus throughout his life. He played ice hockey throughout his life as well as baseball. His idle is Mike “Doc” Emrick, someone he has looked up to since his childhood. The passion for broadcasting was gained and became a part of his everyday life, even doing the play-by-play of sports games on TV for his friends while muting the TV. Tim is a co-host of both “The Cycle” and has taken over as co-host for “The Sin Bin”. Tim has produced content and done play-by-play and beat writes covering Penn State sports and State College High School sports. His dream is to be a play-by-play broadcaster in the NHL or to be a sports beat writer.