One small step for the team, one giant leap forward for the program.
Having split with Michigan two weeks ago on the road, the Lions (9-4-1) came into the second game of the series against Wisconsin with a chance to make a statement. The 4-2 victory is exactly what Guy Gadowsky's team was looking for Saturday night. Now that the dust has settled, the Lions stand at 3-1 in B1G play.
The statement has been made. Penn State hockey is for real. All bets are ON. The team is playing at the highest level of NCAA hockey and winning games on the road. The sweep of the Badgers marks Penn State's third series sweep of the year. The team has now played six two-game series, three on the road, and still has managed to sweep half the time.
The first period was a sparring match between the two teams. Penn State initially asserted their will on the home team, peppering the net with shots. Wisconsin held solid and then used the controlled style of possession hockey that they are known for to get a few shots on goal that challenged goalie Matt Skoff.
The period ended with no scoring, although each team had brief moments where their game plans nearly evolved into goals. Other than a penalty for interference on Penn State's Scott Conway, there was little advantage for either team. The Lions got 12 shots on goal compared to Wisconsin's 9.
Wisconsin scored first early in the period. Kevin Schulze lit the lamp for the Badgers, just two minutes into the frame. The lead was short-lived though, as James 'Jimmy Pucks' Robinson scored his second goal of the season two minutes later. David Glen and Kenny Brooks assisted on the goal. Moments later Max Gardiner added a power play goal giving the visiting team a lead that it would not relinquish. Dylan Richard and Curtis Loik assisted on the goal.
Play went back and forth for a few minutes following the go-ahead goal, with the Badgers playing with a sense of urgency. With nine minutes left in the period Scott Williamson took a penalty for tripping and Wisconsin had a chance to even up the score.
Instead Tommy Olczyk added a short-handed goal stretching the lead to 3-1 for the Lions in what would prove to be the game-winning goal. Eric Autio got the assist.
Early in the period it was evident that the Lions had switched the game plan into preserving the lead instead of the normal fast-paced loose style it normally employs. The period would end with the Lions getting 7 shots on goal and the Badgers 8, a rare occasion for the shot-happy blue and white squad. Ricky DeRosa made his shot count, netting the team's fourth goal on the night with twelve minutes remaining in the game on an assist from Scott Conway. Up 4-1, Guy Gadowsky's squad went into full protection mode.
To Wisconsin's credit it never stopped fighting. With five minutes left in the game Morgan Zulinick scored his second goal in as many nights, the lead was trimmed to 4-2. That is how the game would end.
|Team||Period 1||Period 2||Period 3||Total|
Penn State Scoring Summary
|Player||Goals (Season Total)||Assists (Season Total)|
|Conway, Scott||0 (3)||1 (4)|
|Glen, David||0 (3)||1 (3)|
|Richard, Dylan||0 (2)||1 (7)|
|Brooks, Kenny||0||1 (3)|
|Olczyk, Tommy||1 (4)||0|
|Loik, Curtis||0 (3)||1 (6)|
|Robinson, James||1 (2)||0 (2)|
|Autio, Eric||0||1 (4)|
|DeRosa, Ricky||1 (2)||0 (3)|
|Gardiner, Max||1 (3)||0 (1)|
- Penn State ends the fall semester schedule of games and now has a break in action until December 29th, when it takes on Robert Morris at the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center.
- Matt Skoff stopped 21 of 23 shots that he faced. The team has a solid 1-2 punch between the pipes with the Skoffer and Eamon the Goalie playing at extremely high levels.
- When the team returns to action, Zach Saar, Taylor Holstrom, and Jonathan Milley should be healthy enough to get back on the ice.
- Everything is AWESOME!