|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
The Nittany Lions (16-8-3) fell to the surging Minnesota Gophers (14-12-0) 4-1 in a game that was up for grabs until early in the third period. The Gophers have won six straight Big Ten games and are currently atop the conference standings.
The game was more competitive than the final score indicates. Penn State goalie Matt Skoff made several amazing saves to keep his team close. In the first period Tommy Olczyk scored what appeared to be the second goal of the game for the Lions but after reviewing the play the officials disallowed the goal due to goalie interference. On the final score of the night, extending the Gopher lead to 4-1, the officials appear to have missed a blatant interference call in front of the net that set up the dagger goal.
Penn State is currently on a four-game losing streak but all is not lost. Three of the games have been at the hands of Michigan and Minnesota, the leading teams in the B1G. PSU began the game with only 11 forwards due to a one game suspension for Andrew Sturtz. Curtis Loik was unable to play past the second period with injury, so the team had only 10 forwards instead of the normal 12 to compete with in the final period.
The teams will play the second game of the series at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday. The game will be televised on Fox Sports North and will be streamed on BTN.go for free for those who have a television subscription for the Big Ten Network.
The Gophers got the scoring started early when Hudson Fasching scored on a pass from Connor Reilly. Reilly skated the puck into the offensive zone, curled, and found Fasching ready for the pass. With just over a minute off the clock, Minnesota took the lead.
Shortly after the goal, Minnesota had another quality scoring chance when a save by Skoff trickled out of his pads and deflected off the post. The near-miss could have given Minnesota an extremely fast two goal lead but fate kept the puck out of the net.
After skating with an advantage for the next few minutes, the Lions answered with a goal of their own when Chase Berger scored to tie the game.
WATCH: Chase Berger evens the score midway through the first period. https://t.co/EcqUca7iD2 #WeAre #HockeyValley— Penn State Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) February 6, 2016
Just after the goal Tommy Olczyk scored what appeared to be a go-ahead goal for the Lions. Olczyk put a shot past Minnesota goalie Eric Schierhorn, but after reviewing the goal the referees waved it off. Schierhorn stopped an initial shot by Olczyk and after the play Ricky DeRosa was pushed into the goalie. With DeRosa on top of him, Schierhorn was unable to stop the second shot of Olczyk. The question remained: had DeRosa been grabbed by Schierhorn and also, had the goalie made an honest attempt to get up after the play in time to make the save. In the video it seems clear that the goalie grabbed DeRosa and forced the pair to the ice. Looking at the video, the officials ruled that it was DeRosa that caused the altercation.
Watch: Olczyk goal disallowed, negating 2-1 Penn State lead. https://t.co/8VF8g1eMPI— Penn State Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) February 6, 2016
The Lions went on the penalty kill with two minutes left in the period. Moments after the penalty expired, Taylor Cammarata scored to give the Gophers the lead heading into the first intermission. While the score was officially an even strength goal, the penalized player had not yet rejoined action after exiting the sin bin.
The teams fought evenly for nine minutes to start the second period until Tyler Sheehy extended the Gopher lead to 3-1 with a strong finish on a pass from Taylor Cammarata.
Late in the second period, penalties became a factor. The teams were given matching penalties when Ryan Norman pulled Ricky DeRosa to the ice in front of the Minnesota net. DeRosa was sent to the penalty box for embellishing the hit. The teams skated 4 on 4 for less than a minute when PSU was handed another penalty. Kevin Kerr was handed a two minute penalty for holding. The Gophers skated 4 on 3 for 50 seconds but were unable to score during the power play. The mess of penalties expired as the second period ended.
Six minutes into the final period, Leon Bristedt scored a goal for the Gophers shortly after Vince Pedrie was taken out in front of the PSU net. The hit was either ruled incidental or was completely missed by the officials. Pedrie was in position to aid Skoff on the play until he was erased. The goal effectively ended any chances for a Penn State comeback.
Here's the Minnesota 4th goal and a potential missed interference call. https://t.co/JHnCxi231J— Penn State Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) February 6, 2016
Stars of the Game
Taylor Cammarata, Minnesota. One goal, one assist.
Eric Schierhorn, Minnesota. 31 saves and a win.
Chase Berger, Penn State. One goal.