Penn State dropped both games against visiting #11 Union this past weekend. On Saturday, the momentum they had built coming out of the #7 Lowell series didn't show early, as our Lions fell behind 3-1 after two periods. They rallied, and played winning hockey in the 3rd period, but came up short, 4-3.
In the rematch on Sunday, Penn State looked like the better team early. They jumped out to a commanding 4-1 lead midway through the 2nd period, putting the Dutchmen on the ropes. But Union showed both talent and veteran experience, while our Lions showed "immaturity", in the words of Coach Gadowsky. That's to be expected, of course, from a squad consisting of nearly all sophomores and freshmen. "We got tight, nervous, stopped skating for a while," said a bitterly disappointed Coach G in the post game presser. That led to individual efforts instead of team efforts, which led to penalties, which Union turned into power play goals - two of them, to climb back within one just before the second intermission. Union tied it up 6 minutes into the 3rd period. Penn State fought, but a turnover in our own end allowed Union to bury the game winner past Eamon McAdam with just 3 seconds left. Game over, 5-4.
Next Up: at #17 Wisconsin (4-5-1 overall, 0-2-0 in BigTen)
Where: Kohl Center, Madison
When: Friday 12/6 8pmET, and Saturday 12/7 9pmET
Video: Nope, unless you have Fox Sports Wisconsin
Last Meeting: blowed us out 0-5, and then we caught 'em sleeping, 3-2 (OT)
Wisconsin began the season ranked #3, after winning a WCHA title and earning a tournament berth last year. They started off with a pair of wins over Northern Michigan. But like last season, the Badgers haven't been playing their best hockey in the early going. G Joe Rumpel sustained an ankle injury, and then they got blowed out on the road against BC and BU. They bounced back, splitting a pair with Miami, and then they dropped both contests against Minnesota last weekend, 1-4 and 3-4.
The Badgers are a tough, smart, veteran squad. They have a losing record and are still ranked, because everyone knows they're good. They'll be looking to bounce back against our Lions. But if they think they're getting the same PSU squad they blew out 0-5 last year, or even the scrappy team they fell asleep against the next night to lose 2-3 in OT, they're mistaken. Penn State is vastly improved over last year, and vastly improved from just one month ago. We've been achingly close to a signature win against both Lowell and Union. The Badgers are clearly the better squad, but don't be surprised if our Lions can get over the hump and steal one from Bucky when they're trying.
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