Penn State lost in overtime to the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament to end its season. It was a tough year, which started with five consecutive losses and included a month-long covid break, but the Lions continued to fight until the end.
Cole Caufield, the best player in the country this year, scored the tying goal and also the game-winner. His 27 goals scored are 9 more than the second-place holder nationally.
Guy Gadowsky and his team have a lot to be proud about for the way that they handled themselves this year. They nearly got back to the Big Ten Championship game after being picked to finish dead last by all of the coaches in the league at the start of the season.
Penn State will lose a few great players this year but the program is no longer a rebuilding franchise, it now has the ability to reload. Expect great things from the team next year, and good times, as fans should be able to attend games and cheer on the squad.
How It Happened
Penn State came out early matching Wisconsin’s speed and skill, killing two penalties in the first period. The Lions almost made it out of the frame clean, but Wisconsin scored with 65 seconds remaining before the first intermission.
Giving up a goal late in a period is always a tough blow and it appeared that the Badgers were going to use the momentum early in the second period. A second goal got past Oskar Autio just a couple of minutes into the period but it was waved off due to goalie interference. The Lions gave up two goals to Notre Dame in the first game of the tournament but against Wisconsin, that margin would be much harder to close.
Alex Limoges got a tip past Wisconsin goalie Robbie Beydoun midway through the game to tie it at 1 apiece.
Jimmy Dowd Jr. threw the puck toward the net from the blue line and it went off of some part of Limoges and in. Christian Sarlo got an assist on the play.
With less than two minutes off the clock in the final period Tim Dougherty gave the Lions their first lead of the game.
While Dougherty was scoring, Wisconsin took a major penalty as Christian Sarlo took a hit to the head. It left the Lions with 5 minutes of power play and a 1 goal lead. Penn State was not able to score and the kill gave Wisconsin a little bit of momentum. Ty Emberson scored to tie the game with ten minutes left to play in regulation.
It looked like the Lions might have missed their chance to hold the lead, giving the Badgers a chance to grab control of the game with the next goal. Instead, Tim Dougherty scored his second goal of the game to give Guy Gadowsky’s team its second 1-goal lead of the game.
With 6:10 to play Wisconsin was given a power play after two players got into a scuffle after the whistle. It was a very questionable call to give only the Lions a penalty, as a player from each team had been pushing after the play. It only took a matter of seconds for the Badgers to tie the game on a power play goal by Cole Caufield.
Oskar Autio stopped a breakaway with 5 minutes to play to preserve the tie game. With 2:49 the Badgers had another nice scoring chance but Autio stopped it. Ten seconds later Alex Limoges almost scored at the other end of the ice. It was a hectic back and forth and either team could have taken the lead.
In overtime Cole Caufield scored on a breakaway 13 minutes in to give Wisconsin the win.