Guy Gadowsky’s team remains without a win in its past five games. While this is a challenging time for the squad, there is no need for worry. There is plenty of time to right the ship.
The Lions came out ready to play in the second game of the series. Alec Marsh gave Penn State an early lead with a first period goal on a slick feed from Andrew Sturtz. Minnesota tied the game in the opening period. Early in the second Penn State took the lead once again. David Goodwin got the goal, and with it some momentum for the visiting Lions, who were in need of a win.
The minutes following Goodwin’s goal were about as good as it would get for Penn State. Minnesota scored three goals before the second period concluded to take a 4-2 lead heading into the final period.
Leon Bristedt scored a hat-trick for the Gophers when he netted the team’s fifth score in the third period.
Penn State will stay on the road, facing Wisconsin next weekend for a series in Madison. It may end up being advantageous to play Minnesota and Wisconsin back-to-back in that the Lions will once again face the challenge of playing on ice that is larger than the 200’ x 85’ surface at the Pegula Ice Arena. The dimensions at the Kohl Center are 200’ x 97’, three feet more narrow than Mariucci Arena, but much wider than the NHL-sized ice that Penn State is used to playing on.
The teams skated evenly for the first eight minutes of the game, with each side having a couple of scoring chances. With just under 12 minutes to play in the first period, Andrew Sturtz dug a puck out of the corner and tossed a centering pass to Alec Marsh, who finished for his third goal of the season. Sturtz was violently checked over the boards of the Minnesota bench on his previous shift on the ice, prompting a stadium-wide cheer inside of Mariucci Arena. Revenge, much like an assist on a goal, is a dish best served cold.
Minnesota got called for a penalty later in the period for having too many men on the ice but it was the Gophers that gained the advantage. Leon Bristedt got a short-handed goal to tie the game at one goal apiece. The stadium erupted with excitement and the feeling lasted for the majority of the power-play as the Gophers controlled the puck inside the Penn State offensive zone for the majority of the time.
Early in the second period senior captain David Goodwin gave the Lions a lead for the second time when he took a pass from Andrew Sturtz and finished past Minnesota goalie Eric Schierhorn. Only 41 seconds were off the clock and once again PSU was able to play loose with a little cushion on the scoreboard.
With 13:02 left in the second period Zach Saar got into a tussle after the whistle. Initially the referee skated off without calling a penalty on either player, but then made a very late call to put Saar alone in the penalty box. It was a ten-minute misconduct. On the play Saar allowed his stick to stay high, and as a result it caught the referee in the face. No penalty was given otherwise, so the teams skated 5 on 5.
Minutes later Minnesota tied the game when Brent Gates beat Peyton Jones on a quick play in front of the net. The result of the Saar penalty energized the stadium and Gopher team. The game was 2-2 midway through the game, but PSU was in dangerous territory, as it had the feel that the stadium was ready to explode with another Gopher goal.
That’s exactly what happened just a couple of minutes later when Taylor Cammarata took a rebound off a Peyton Jones save and put it in for the 3-2 lead. Following the goal the stadium was on the edge of its seat, sensing another Gopher goal on the horizon. Instead the Lions went on a power play, and while were unable to score, it slowed the pace back down to where it was manageable for the visiting team. With just under 5 minutes left in the period that effort was foiled when PSU was called for a penalty for having too many men on the ice.
It didn’t take long for Minnesota to make it pay. Vinni Lettieri got the power play goal to give the Gophers the 4-2 lead.
In the third period Penn State played valiantly, attempting a comeback attempt. Ultimately they fell short. Leon Bristedt scored his third goal of the game, a hat-trick, to ice the outcome, giving the Gophers a three-goal lead with 14:17 left in the final period.
Stars of the Game
First Star- Leon Bristedt, Minnesota. 3 goals.
Second Star- Andrew Sturtz, Penn State. 2 assists.
Third Star- Taylor Cammarata, Minnesota. 1 goal, 1 assist.