As the puck fluttered off Oskar Autio and toward the corner, it pretty clearly grazed the overhead netting before falling back to the ice.
Autio saw it.
His teammates saw it.
Guy Gadowsky saw it.
It seems the whole darn arena saw it.
The only ones who didn’t seem to see it were the ones who could do something about it.
Autio and those teammates close by tried to get the referees’ attention, arguing their case that the play should be whistled dead. It wasn’t, and before too long the puck was being fished out of the back of Autio’s net.
While the Nittany Lions (12-8-0, 3-7-0 Big Ten) were arguing their case, the Fighting Irish (13-6-0, 6-4-0) were getting to the net. Before Penn State could regroup, Notre Dame’s Landon Slaggert guided a pass into an open cage behind Autio.
If it were a meaningless goal in a blowout for either team, perhaps it wouldn’t cause such a controversy. As it stood as the game-winning goal in Notre Dame’s 4-2 win over Penn State, the reaction seems warranted.
Goals By Period
This is not Penn State’s first encounter with such a bizarre series of events. Almost five years ago to the date, the Nittany Lions fell to Princeton in the exact same circumstances. What Gadowsky has learned from these is one of the oldest rules in hockey.
“You still play to the whistle, right? It hit the net, but hockey’s a fast game [and] they’re not going to catch everything,” he said.
The controversial goal overshadowed what was a stellar night from Autio, who finished the game with 30 saves, including some of the exceptional variety.
How It Happened
After a scoreless first that saw its share of momentum swings, the Fighting Irish opened the scoring within the first minute of the second period. Max Ellis drove hard to the net and redirected a cross-crease pass from Jesse Lansdell.
Just a couple minutes later, the Fighting Irish doubled their lead with a power play tally. As they worked the puck down low, Lansdell found Grant Silianoff at the back door. The latter buried a one timer past Oskar Autio.
The Nittany Lions got one right back, however. After applying pressure in the offensive zone, the puck found its way to Adam Pilewicz at the point. Pilewicz smacked it at a velocity that wouldn’t leave a dent in a paper bag, but somehow floated over the shoulder of Ryan Bischel.
With the middle frame winding down, Tyler Paquette pulled the Nittany Lions level as he picked the top corner from a sharp angle.
Midway through the third period, the Fighting Irish reclaimed the lead on a controversial goal. After the puck pretty clearly hit the netting and play should have been blown dead, Graham Slaggert steered a pass from Adam Karashik past Autio.