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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Net Key 6-3 Victory Over No. 17 Wisconsin

by on February 10, 2017 11:15 PM

Penn State hockey picked up a crucial victory in its bid of first-ever NCAA tournament berth as the Nittany Lions broke a five-game winless streak with a 6-3 win over No. 17 Wisconsin on Friday night.

It was Penn State striking first in Madison as captain David Goodwin netted a goal 6:50 into the contest in front of an announced crowd of just over 9,000 at the Khol Center. Goodwin set a program record for most games played in a career, having suited up for the Nittany Lions 133 times

Minutes later freshman Brandon Biro added another to extend Penn State's lead to 2-0 in just over nine minutes. Penn State only managed eight shots in the opening period while the Badgers got 14 shots on goal as Peyton Jones stood tall en route to a 30 save night and his 15th win on the year.

Wisconsin's shot dominance didn't last for long though as Penn State fired 14 shots on goal in the second period to Wisconsin's 10, even so it was the Badgers making the most of their chances scoring twice in just over a minute early in the second period to tie the game. The second of two goals coming on the man advantage as Penn State looked to kill off a hooking call on Eric Autio.

It only took Denis Smirnov 1:10 to find an answer for the Nittany Lions, slotting a shot home and giving Penn State the lead once again. Five minutes later David Goodwin added his second on the night to extend Penn State's lead to a 4-2 margin heading into the intermission.

So as Trevor Hamilton skated in, scoring shorthanded just under a minute into the final period Penn State sat on a 5-2 lead with less than 20 minutes to play. Wisconsin would add one to the total, but a Zach Saar empty net tally with over a minute to play killed off any hopes of any final minute heroics as Penn State defended a 6-3 lead.

Penn State improves to 17-6-2 on the year and picks up three crucial points in the Big Ten standings as Ohio State upended Minnesota 5-4 on Friday night to pull the Nittany Lions within five points of first place.

More importantly for the larger Nittany Lion postseason goals, Penn State improved to No. 7 in the PairWise rankings following the win after slipping to No.11 after the five game slide.

Penn State and Wisconsin will take the ice again on Saturday night.

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