Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Fall 3-2 To No. 1 Minnesota, Rematch Set For Monday Night
Penn State's upset bid of No. 1 ranked Minnesota came up just short on Sunday night as the Nittany Lions gave the nation's top ranked team everything it could handle in the first Big Ten game inside Pegula Ice Arena.
Penn State fell 3-2 in the first meeting between the two programs.
Nittany Lion goaltender Eamon McAdam was outstanding in net, making 42 saves on the night, many that kept Penn State within reach. But the Gophers slotted one past the far left post with just under five minutes to play to break a 2-2 tie and give Minnesota the eventual victory.
While the Gophers ended the game in the final five minutes, Minnesota opened the game the same way, scoring on a blast from the left circle that beat McAdam through traffic to open up the scoring. Penn State bounced back though and the Nittany Lions held their ground through the remainder of the period.
The back-and-forth action continued in the second period as both teams looked to shift the momentum of the game. Minnesota would score on the power play 11:34 into the second frame to give the Gophers a 2-0 lead. In many situations, this could have been the opening of the floodgates, but Penn State powered back and a Talor Holstrom goal in front of the net brought the Nittany Lions within one with just under 2 minutes to play in the second period.
Down a goal, the Nittany Lions had new life and nothing to lose in the final 20 minutes. Penn State scored on a redirection play to give David Glenn his second goal on the year and send the Pegula Ice Arena into a frenzy. With the upset within reach, Penn State did its best. McAdam made a fantastic save on a 2-on-1 chance by Minnesota but the Gophers cashed in only a few seconds later.
“It was a hard fought game,” Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said. “Tip your hat to their goaltender, he played very well. We had a lot of good looks, and good rebound opportunities, but he was there to make the save most every time."
After the game the disappointment for the Nittany Lions was real. There is little doubt that head coach Guy Gadowksy was proud of his team's efforts, but nothing about losing to the top team in the nation is easy when you had chances to win.
But Penn State will get another crack at history on Monday night as the Nittany Lions play game two of the series at 7:00 PM. The Big Ten Network will carry the contest, one that is sure to be just as hard fought as Sunday night's.
If Sunday was any indication of what Big Ten hockey will be like moving forward, Penn State fans are certainly getting their money's worth.