Penn State must be feeling some déjà vu this weekend.
After suffering a very familiar loss on Friday, past heartbreaks once again came forward on Saturday.
After clinging to a one-goal lead for most of the third period, the Nittany Lions gave up a late game-tying goal and then an even later game-winning goal as they fell in overtime 5-4 to Notre Dame.
Goals By Period
The parallels are easily drawn of an early-2017 loss to Minnesota, in which the Nittany Lions took a lead late only to surrender a tying goal late in regulation and a game-winning goal late in overtime.
Both were decided on faceoff plays that just didn’t go Penn State’s way.
Bad breaks happen all the time to all kinds of teams, from those at the bottom of the standings to those closer to the top. There is a cause for concern that those things seem to be happening to Penn State week after week, but they do have reason to stay positive.
A couple bad breaks aside, Saturday’s contest is probably one of, if not the best the Nittany Lions have played this season.
They kept the Fighting Irish at bay for most of the contest and didn’t commit a single penalty for the first time this season. Yet, all that hard work seems all for naught given the outcome.
How It Happened
The Fighting Irish wasted no time opening the scoring. Just 95 seconds into the contest, Solag Bakich gave his team the lead, knocking home the rebound of a point shot.
Midway through the period, the Nittany Lions leveled the contest. After halting a Notre Dame breakout, Kevin Wall deflected a Christian Berger shot past Matthew Galajda.
A few minutes later, Jimmy Dowd Jr put the Nittany Lions in front. After collecting the puck at the blue line, Dowd Jr took it behind the Notre Dame net and buried a wraparound.
Early in the second period, the Nittany Lions converted on a five-minute power play opportunity. After getting away with a boarding penalty in his own zone, Dowd Jr netted his second of the night as he stepped into a slap shot from the point.
After being held without a shot on goal through the first half of the period, the Fighting Irish struck back on their first true opportunity of the period. After a pair of saves from Oskar Autio, Jack Adams buried a rebound from a sharp angle.
A few minutes later, the Fighting Irish leveled the game. Defenseman Nick Leivermann worked his way below the goal line and banked a shot off Autio’s helmet.
Before the second period came to a close, the Nittany Lions reclaimed the lead, as Clayton Phillips moved in from the point and beat Galajda glove side from the slot.
With just over two minutes to play and with an extra skater, the Fighting Irish once again tied the game as Cam Burke swatted at a loose puck after Autio couldn’t control the rebound.
With the overtime period winding down, the Fighting Irish won a defensive zone faceoff and broke out on a 2-on-1. Autio kicked out a Spencer Stastney shot onto the stick of Max Ellis, who buried the rebound with less than a second on the clock.