The Lions beat Notre Dame on their home ice to take the first game of the Big Ten Tournament. Chase McLane and Connor McMenamin each scored two goals while three other players added two assists.
Guy Gadowsky’s team found themselves down 2-0 less than three minutes into the game against a team that tries to play a controlled, low-scoring style. It did not look good. Late in the first period Christian Sarlo scored to cut the lead to one goal.
The second period belonged to the Lions as Connor McMenamin scored two consecutive goals to give his team the lead and then Tim Doherty added another in the closing minutes.
Ryder Rohlston made it a little more interesting when he scored to get the Fighting Irish back to within a pair of goals with 7 minutes to play but that was as close as they would get.
Penn State will play top-seed Wisconsin on Monday at 4:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network. It is impossible to know what a team will need to do this year to make the NCAA Tournament, since the NCAA is not using the regular ranking system that is clear as day, the PairWise. We can assume that at this point the only way that the Lions will make the Big Dance would be to win two more games.
Should the Lions win on Monday they will play the winner of the other semifinal on Tuesday for a shot to get to the NCAA Tournament. If they were to win on Monday and lose on Tuesday, I personally do not think that it would be enough to get an at-large bid.
That being said, that is just my opinion based on what we know, which is not much. I’d hate to rule out an at-large bid since there is no reason to do so, it’s just not likely.