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Penn State Hockey: Comeback Falls Short As Nittany Lions Lose 4-3 To Wisconsin

by on March 05, 2016 10:40 PM

If Penn State's win on Friday night was a display of how a game of inches can go in your favor, Saturday night was the opposite, as Wisconsin found the back of the net in bunches en route to a 4-3 victory over the Nittany Lions.

Per usual though Penn State opened the scoring early as Kenny Brooks found the back of the net just under five minutes into regulation to give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead. Entering Saturday's game Penn State was 16-0-2 when scoring first on the year.

Wisconsin, much like on Friday night, answered fairly quickly to knot the game at 1-1 with 9:12 remaining in the opening frame. Just five minutes later Jason Ford added to the goal scoring to put the Badgers up 2-1 with 4:46 to play in the first period. Penn State took a 12-10 shots advantage into the break but failed to capitalize on a handful of solid goal scoring chances.

The second period wasn't what most Penn State fans are used to seeing though as the Badgers scored two quick goals to blow the game wide open. Wisconsin taking a 3-1 lead just over four minutes into the period and then again with 14:20 to go to make it 4-1. The quick scores ended with Penn State changing goalies as Eamon McAdam left the net and was replaced by freshman Chris Funkey who made his first appearance in goal since late January.

Funkey made his first of two breakaway stops shortly thereafter keeping the game at 4-1 the score which would stand after 40 minutes of play. Penn State took a 28-24 shots advantage into the break and once again managed to create good chances but failed to capitalize to start the comeback prior to the second intermission.

Midway through the third and final period David Goodwin gave the Nittany Lions hope scoring on the man advantage to kickstart a flurry of shots and offensive zone action for Penn State. Andrew Strutz finally found pay dirt again with 1:46 to play cutting the margin to just a single goal.

But it wasn't to be. Despite a 6-on-4 advantage for almost the entire final minute of play and a 21-2 shots advantage in the period, Penn State couldn't find the game tying goal to send the contest into overtime. Perhaps more importantly, the Nittany Lions pick up a key loss late in the season as Penn State sits on the NCAA Tournament bubble with just three games remaining in the regular season.

Penn State will next travel to Michigan to face the Wolverines before finishing off the year in the Big Ten Tournament. Points and victories will be all the more important now as Penn State's postseason race enters a do-or-die phase.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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