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Penn State Opens Big Ten Play With 6-1 Over Wisconsin

The Nittany Lions’ offense came back to the life in their first conference game of the season.

Heather Weikel

Goals by Period

Team 1st 2nd 3rd OT Final
Team 1st 2nd 3rd OT Final
Wisconsin 1 0 0 x 1
Penn State 2 2 2 x 6

Over the past couple of weeks, Guy Gadowsky has been looking for answers on how to fix his team’s struggling offense. Those questions may be laid to rest, at least for now, following Penn State’s opening game of Big Ten play.

The Nittany Lions potted four power play goals en route to a 6-1 win over Wisconsin on Thursday night. Goal output aside, Gadowsky was pleased to see his team get back to the style of hockey that has made them successful.

“That was absolutely the closest game we’ve had to what we’re used to, to how we want to play in our identity,” Gadowsky said.

The final score was aided by a late five-minute power play for the Nittany Lions, but the essentials were there for the Nittany Lions to play “Penn State Hockey.”

“I guess if you want to encompass it in one word, we want to play fast and we want to play hard,” Gadowsky said, “and I thought you saw a lot of that, both of those, tonight.”

Those same attributes apply to the Badgers style of play this season, and Tony Granato’s squad certainly had their share of chances against Peyton Jones, who stopped 38 of 39 shots. Granato praised the Nittany Lions for keeping Jones view of the puck unobstructed.

“Obviously, they still had close to 40 shots, but they’re extremely skilled,” Gadowsky said. “Even if you play close to a perfect game, I think they’re going to get their chances because of that.”

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions jumped out of the gate quickly, wasting no time in getting on the board. Just 47 seconds into the game, Sam Sternschein deflected a shot from Nikita Pavlychev past Wisconsin goalie Daniel Lebedeff.

Later in the period, Evan Barratt picked up his first goal of the season on the power play. Just five seconds into the man advantage, Barratt fired a shot from the point that found a way through traffic and over Lebedeff’s shoulder.

With time winding down in the first, Cole Caufield responded for the Badgers with a power play goal of his own. Caufield, the nation’s leading goal scorer, picked the top corner from the top of the circle for his eighth goal of the season.

Early in the second period, the Nittany Lions restored their two-goal lead. Just over a minute in, Alex Stevens walked in from the right point and buried a shot off the post and in.

Midway through the period, the Nittany Lions converted on another man advantage. A Pavlychev shot ricocheted hard off the boards and right to the stick of Denis Smirnov, who one timed a shot to the back of the net.

Late in the third period, the night turned ugly as Roman Ahcan was ejected for a head shot on Denis Smirnov. On the ensuing five-minute power play, Nate Sucese and Aarne Talvitie poured it on the Badgers.