For a moment, it seemed Penn State was bound for another late-game collapse.
Entering the third period with a three-goal cushion over Wisconsin, the Nittany Lions yielded a pair of goals in short order. Doubt would naturally start to creep in for a team that has, of late, struggled to hold on to the few leads they have gained.
After a timely timeout by coach Guy Gadowsky, though, the flood gates re-opened for the Nittany Lions, who netted four straight to cruise to a 7-2 victory over the Badgers.
Goals By Period
With the resounding victory, the Nittany Lions (14-12-0, 5-11-0 Big Ten) completed their first conference sweep of the season.
Freshman Ryan Kirwan picked up where he left off on Friday, netting a pair of goals for the second time in as many nights. Fellow freshman Ben Schoen also scored a brace, as five of the Nittany Lions seven tallies came from first-year players.
Oskar Autio returned to the crease after Liam Souliere’s impressive performance on Friday, and though he wasn’t nearly as busy as his fellow goaltender — particularly in a two-shot first period from Wisconsin — Autio stopped 20 of 22 on the night.
How It Happened
After a scoreless first period largely dominated by the Nittany Lions, they opened the scoring a few minutes into the second period. Ryan Kirwan finished off a tic-tac-toe play by burying a one timer from close range.
Later in the period, Kirwan netted his second of the game, going bar down on Jared Moe on a brief 2-on-1 rush.
Near the end of the period, Tyler Gratton extended the Nittany Lions lead to three. Fresh out of the penalty box, Gratton posted up at the front of the net while Kevin Wall made a slick move to set him up for a tap in goal.
Early in the third period, the Badgers broke Oskar Autio’s shutout bid. Carson Bantle fired a quick one timer off the far post and past Autio.
Just a couple minutes later, Bantle added another to pull the Badgers within a goal. Bantle gathered the puck in the offensive zone and dangled around Autio.
The Nittany Lions answered back shortly afterward with a power play goal. Ben Schoen gained the zone and threw a shot on goal that somehow found its way past Moe.
Just 43 seconds later, Danny Dzhaniyev extended the lead back to three as he out waited Moe and beat him blocker side.
A few minutes later, the Nittany Lions took advantage of a two-man advantage as the Badgers’ frustration began to show. Connor MacEachern beat Cameron Rowe glove side after an extended period of pressure.
Schoen capped off the scoring a few minutes later as he put one over Rowe’s shoulder from a sharp angle.