Penn State played well in their first game since January 29 but it wasn’t enough for a win on the road.
Early in the first period the Lions scored and a minute later Notre Dame answered. Midway through the game the Irish answered less than a minute after Penn State took a 2-1 lead. Notre Dame then score three unanswered goals in the final period as the Lions appeared to lose their legs.
Mason Snell scored two goals after having scored just one time this year for Penn State.
The teams will play the second game of the series at 5:30 on Saturday. It will be the final game of the regular season but it won’t be the last time the teams face one another, as they will play in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament next Sunday.
How It Happened
With 34 days off coming into the game it was uncertain whether the layoff would help or hurt the Lions. Early on it appeared to benefit the team and Mason Snell scored for a 1-0 lead. Aarne Talvitie started the play with some great work in the corner.
Unfortunately Notre Dame answered with a score of their own just a minute later. The teams skated fast and each side had quality scoring chances as the next ten minutes passed without a stoppage.
It became clear that Guy Gadowsky had been able to keep his team fresh during the downtime as the game was physical, crisp and also clean. Notre Dame was playing well but the Lions matched them play for play. There was a small scuffle with 2.6 seconds to play in the period following a whistle behind the Notre Dame net as the teams let the intensity get to them momentarily.
The second period continued with a similar flow and the minutes flew off the board as the teams skated end to end with few stoppages. Oskar Autio made a save on an odd-man break midway through the period and then faced a couple of shots on the next trip down the ice. At one point the puck flew over Autio and on to the stick of a Notre Dame player, who was unable to score. The next trip down the ice the Lions scored as Mason Snell was credited with his second goal as he was nearest as the puck deflected off a defender’s skate.
It was a massive momentum swap, with the Irish nearly taking the lead and then going down a goal. It didn’t last long, as the puck got behind Autio a minute later to tie the game 2-2. Alex Limoges hit the post on a partial breakaway with 6:42 on the clock and then there were a couple of tries to jam in the rebound by Tim Dougherty but the game remained tied.
With 4:24 to go in the second period the Lions went on the first power play of the game but nothing came from it. Penn State was called for a penalty and Notre Dame skated with the advantage to close out the period.
With 16 minutes to play Notre Dame took their first lead of the game. Oskar Autio made a nice save to keep the game within one goal a couple of minutes later. They added another goal just a couple of minutes later to take a two-goal lead. With 5 minutes to go another goal iced it for Notre Dame.