Penn State (12-5-2) got a very important road win in Big Ten play. It is always difficult to play on the road, especially at Mariucci Arena, but the Lions have a rare chance to win both games away from the friendly confines of the Pegula Ice Arena.
The Lions entered the game at No. 10 in the PairWise Rankings and moved up in the standings with the win.
Penn State played without the nation’s leading scorer, Evan Barratt, who along with Aarne Talvitie missed the game while playing in the World Junior Championships. Talvitie and Barratt will square off in the WJC finals when the United States plays Finland for the title.
Barratt’s linemate Alex Limoges scored the final goal of the game and is now the leading scorer in the nation. Peyton Jones played a great game in net, making a half-dozen saves that could have easily gone for goals.
The teams will play game two of the series on Saturday night at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports North and will be streamed on BTN.go.
How It Happened
Penn State came out skating well, gaining the first power play of the game six minutes in. Evan Bell, the transfer from Merrimack who had to sit out the first semester, was in early at defense on the power play. Peyton Jones made a nice save on a short-handed attempt and while the Lions had control of the puck most of the time, no goal was scored with the advantage.
The Lions had a 9-1 shot on goal advantage through 11 minutes. The Gophers went on a power play when Alec Marsh was called for hooking with 7:06 to go before the first intermission. Penn State killed the penalty but Marsh was called for another soon after, sending him back to the box. This time Minnesota made it count with a goal late in the power play.
Early in the second period Brandon Biro took a long pass from Alex Marsh and made a great move to get an open shot. He put the puck in the net and also there was a penalty called on the play, giving the Lions a power play after tying the game 1-1.
Kevin Kerr followed with a goal off a nice wrist shot just a few minutes later. Evan Bell assisted on the play, getting a point in his first game in uniform for Penn State.
Tyler Sheehy took an ill-advised penalty midway through the second period, which allowed the Lions to maintain control of momentum. Minnesota weathered the storm and finished the period strong, getting a power play chance in the closing minutes.
The Gophers began the final period with 32 seconds of power play time remaining. The Lions killed the penalty and added to the lead when Ludwig Larrson found Denis Smirnov in front of the net for the finish.
Penn State killed a penalty while getting a couple of good short-handed chances by Nate Sucese and Alex Limoges. Moments later Minnesota cut the lead to one goal when Jack Ramsey snapped a shot past Peyton Jones.
The Gophers went on the power play again when Sucese went to the box a minute later. Limoges had another great short-handed breakaway chance but was unable to finish, while the Lions killed the penalty.
Alex Limoges added an empty-net goal with 18 seconds to play to ice the game.