Penn State (12-7-2) extended its unbeaten streak to nine games to open the second semester of the season. The game began with a sloppy bit of play as each team showed the result of having nearly a month off between games.
Nate Sucese scored a hat trick, the third coming with the net empty at the end of the game. Chase Berger and Evan Barratt added goals for PSU. Peyton Jones played very well in net for Penn State, letting up only one goal midway through the final period.
The teams will play the second game of the series on Saturday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Penn State went on the power-play just fourteen seconds into the game. After taking about a minute to get settled, the Lions put in the first goal of the game. Evan Barratt found the back of the net for the power-play goal and early 1-0 lead.
A couple of minutes later Penn State scored another goal on a very long pass to Nate Sucese from Derian Hamilton. After the goal Wisconsin challenged the play, saying that there were too many men on the ice. The goal stood, and the Lions had a quick 2-0 lead. Goalie Peyton Jones assisted on the goal after he made a nice save that deflected out to Hamilton.
James Robinson and Peter Tishcke were called for matching two-minute penalties with eleven minutes before the first intermission. The teams skated four-on-four and the penalties came and went without a score.
The early part of the game was marked by whistles as each team showed the sluggishness caused by a nearly month-long layoff. With five minutes left in the first period, the teams had already faced off 24 times.
Denis Smirnov had a breakaway with just one Wisconsin defender with him late in the period but was not able to extend the lead to three goals. The teams went to their locker rooms with PSU leading 2-0.
It didn’t take long for the Lions to get the 3-0 lead. Andrew Sturtz found Chase Berger flashing in front of the net just eleven seconds into the second period.
Soon after the third goal, Penn State was called for a penalty. The Badgers controlled the puck for nearly a minute on the delayed call before Erik Autio was able to touch the puck for the Lions. James Robinson went to the box for the second time on the night with an elbowing call.
The advantage didn’t last long for Wisconsin as Nate Sucese scored his second goal of the game, this time a short-handed goal to give PSU the 4-0 lead.
Sucese found Brandon Biro later in the penalty kill to get another great short-handed scoring chance. The penalty was eventually killed off but it was Penn State that seemed to have the advantage during the stretch.
Andrew Sturtz and Matthew Fryetag were called for matching unsportsmanlike penalties for an altercation that happened after the whistle. The teams once again skated 4-on-4. Penn State was called for another penalty and for a time was down 4-3 on the ice. With the Badgers on the 5-on-4 power-play moments later, the puck went into the net behind Peyton Jones but the whistle blew just before the goal was scored, as the referee lost sight of the puck. The penalties all expired with the game remaining 4-0.
With 8:04 to play before the second intermission the Lions went on another power-play. This time Wisconsin was able to kill off the advantage without incident. PSU had a few nice scoring chances late in the period but were unable to put the puck in the back of the net.
The start of the final period was marked by fast skating from end to end, with Wisconsin intent to get back in the game and Penn State focused on adding a fifth goal. There were a few skirmishes after the whistle as the Badgers began to get frustrated.
With 8:06 left in the game Wisconsin broke the shut-out when Tarek Baker beat Peyton Jones to cut the lead to 4-1. Penn State let down momentarily, looking as though it was looking forward to the end of the game, and the lapse may have cost Jones the shutout. Nate Sucese added an empty-net goal to put a stamp on the victory, grabbing a hat trick.