Our Lions dropped both games against #1 Minnesota last Sunday (3-2) and Monday (5-2). But make no mistake: they played great hockey, and in my biased opinion, outplayed the number one team in the land on Monday night at Pegula. Outplayed, as in out-hustled, out-checked, and out-grinded the bleeping Gophers.
They displayed an incredible mental toughness Monday night as well. By all accounts, even those of Gopher orientation, the Lions "won" the second period handily, though they had zero goals to show for it. A bad turnover in the neutral zone gave Goldy an odd man rush, and with their talent, they buried a beautiful one-timer past Eamon McAdam to go up 2-0. But instead of being deflated and throwing in the towel, the boys responded with impressive ferocity. The same **** thing happened again in the 3rd period - Penn State is winning the period, getting great scoring chances, but coming up empty. One mistake and the Gophers take a 3-0 lead, but that only served to make Penn State fight harder.
Anyhow - Monday night was frustrating, but also very encouraging. There really isn't a better team in college hockey right now than the Gophers, yet this young Penn State squad (almost everyone is a frosh or soph) fought, and showed very, very well.
Next Up: at Michigan State Spartans (6-10-3 overall, 0-2-2 in Big Ten)
When: Friday (tonight) at 6:30pm ET on BTN! and Saturday at 6:30pm ET (on NBCSN)
Video: TONIGHT ON BTN (if websites can be trusted)
Last Meeting: Penn State visited Spartyland last January and split a pair, dropping the first game 5-3, but winning the second, 3-2.
As it is with every Big Ten contest this year, Sparty is the more experienced side with the better hockey history. But Penn State can win, particularly if they play as well as they did Monday night. The Lions have been worlds better at Pegula, and this one is on the road - can Coach Guy get the consistency he's looking for while traveling?
Let's run our open thread here, assuming the game actually is televised on BTN.