Penn State played a great game but was unable to get the win on the road.
The teams each scored two goals in the first period to get the game off to a very fast start. The second period went without a goal but each team had quality chances. With less than a minute to play Notre Dame scored the game-winning goal.
Penn State will have a couple of weeks to prepare for the NCAA Tournament. While their opponent will not be named until next weekend, the Lions already know that they will be traveling to Allentown, Pennsylvania for the Midwest Regional that will be held on March 24 and 25. Penn State will be the host institution for the Allentown regional and therefore Guy Gadowsky’s team is guaranteed a spot at that location once it is officially awarded a spot in the NCAA field. As of Sunday morning, the Pairwise Probability Matrix gives the Lions a 99.9% chance of making the field.
How It Happened
The Lions came out ready to go; within the first four minutes of play it had six shots on net. It took Notre Dame a little more than five minutes to get its first shot to the pads of Penn State goalie Peyton Jones.
The Irish picked up the pressure at that point and after getting a few shots on Jones, a long shot by Jordan Gross found its way to the back of the net. Seven minutes into the the game, Notre Dame led 1-0. Penn State came back and immediately got several quality scoring chances, including an odd-man break by Alex Limoges. Notre Dame goalie Cale Morris was able to hold steady, turning each attempt back.
A minute later Kris Myllari was sent to the penalty box and Notre Dame had the first power-play of the game. The Lions killed it off and just seconds later went on a power-play of its own. Penn State was able to tie the game up during the advantage. Nate Sucese finished a great team effort off the face-off win in the zone. Brandon Biro and Erik Autio assisted on the play.
Notre Dame then went on another power-play and scored a goal by Andrew Peeke. After the play it took the referees a long time to determine whether the play was off-side. The goal was allowed and once again the Lions trailed by one goal in the first period. And for the second time in the opening frame, Penn State did not wait long to answer. Brandon Biro made a great play to get to the net and then finish his own rebound for the tying goal.
Each team continued to battle and the action continued back and forth up the ice for the remainder of the period. At the first intermission Penn State had a shot on goal advantage of 18-16 but the Irish won 18 of 28 face-offs.
Two minutes into the second period Notre Dame got called for a penalty when Tory Dello hit Alex Limoges with a high elbow, catching him the head. The advantage came and went without a goal.
For the next few minutes the teams went end to end in some of the fastest action of the season. Finally Penn State was called for a penalty with twelve minutes to play in the period. The Lions killed the penalty and seconds after Peyton Jones made a great save to keep the game tied.
With seven minutes to play before the second intermission Jones made another great save when Alex Limoges turned the puck over in the defensive zone. After the play the referees went to the monitors to check whether Penn State should be called for a major penalty for a hit that Trevor Hamilton put on a Notre Dame player. There was no penalty called on the play and the teams skated 5 on 5.
Alec Marsh was taken to the ice a couple of minutes later by Justin Wade and it was Penn State’s turn to play with the extra skater. The Lions got a lot of attack time but were unable to score. The period ended without a goal by either side.
Peyton Jones made a nice save four minutes into the final period on an odd-man rush. On the next possession Notre Dame had a 2 on 1 break but was unable to get a shot on net. The Irish continued to keep the pressure on but the Lions weathered the storm.
Play was even late into the period. The referees did not call a penalty in the final frame, letting some rough play continue on, realizing that the teams were playing for a chance to reach the Big Ten Championship.
With 30.9 seconds left in the game Jack Jenkins scored on a rebound to give the Irish the 3-2 lead. It was enough for the win. The Lions pulled Peyton Jones and got a few more looks at tying the game but fell short.