No. 18 PSU men's hockey routs Minnesota
UNIVERSITY PARK -- Sophomore Alex Limoges (Winchester, Va.) scored twice including the game-winning tally to help lead No. 18 Penn State past Minnesota, 7-2, in Big Ten Conference action this evening from Pegula Ice Arena.
The Nittany Lions improve to 15-10-2 on the year and 7-9-1-1 in Big Ten action with the victory while the Gophers fall to 11-13-4 overall and 8-8-3-0 in league play.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Nittany Lions opened the scoring less than three minutes into the contest as junior Liam Folkes (Scarborough, Ontario) cleaned up his own rebound to the right of the crease for the 1-0 advantage at 2:28 of the first period.
Penn State extended its lead with a pair of goals just 60 seconds apart as junior Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.) sniped a shot over the blocker of Gopher goalie Mat Robson at 12:11 before Limoges banged in a rebound on the doorstep for the 3-0 margin at 13:11.
The hosts opened up the lead further as junior Brandon Biro (Sherwood Park, Alberta) sent a beautiful cross-ice feed to hit sophomore Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis.) on the backdoor for the easy score and 4-0 lead at 4:48 of the middle frame.
Penn State continued the crisp passing as senior Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) had a yawning net to shoot at following passes from classmate Alec Marsh (Bridgewater, N.J.) and Biro for the 5-0 score at 12:05 of the second period.
Minnesota finally got on the board taking advantage of the power-play as Tyler Sheehy was left all alone below the left dot and he ripped a wrister over the glove of PSU junior net-minder Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) for the 5-1 deficit at 13:57 of the second stanza.
The Nittany Lions regained their five-goal lead scoring their own power-play tally as Limoges finished off senior Kevin Kerr’s (Bensalem, Pa.) initial blast from the point for the 6-1 lead at 18:46 of the period.
Sheehy scored his second of the game just 19 seconds into the third period cutting the deficit to 6-2.
Biro added a late goal off more crisp passing from Marsh and Berger for the 7-2 final at 18:09 of the third period.
Robson lasted just 13:11 making six saves on nine shots falling to 9-9-4 on the year while Jones improves to 11-7-2 on the year after stopping 24 pucks.
Eric Schierhorn replaced Robson in the first period and collected 29 saves over the final 46:49 of the contest.
“Two things. One is we continued our momentum from MSG, where it is really hard to play a perfect hockey game, but when we were at our worst, Peyton [Jones] was at his best and that’s obviously a key for a good hockey team. I thought even though they scored a lot, the momentum that [Chase] Berger’s line created was really key. Obviously they put the puck in the net, but even some of the shifts that they had just creating momentum for us was really big.”
Q: “There were a couple shifts in the middle of the second period where you guys kept the puck in their zone repeatedly. Has there been a better three or four minutes this year than that?”
A: I don’t think so, and I think that line was instrumental, and not only did they create momentum, but they were able to change and get a fresh line on as well. That’s something we love to see, obviously. You try to take advantage of that, and it doesn’t always turn out, but today I thought the momentum they created was key.
Q: “We talked about defense from a mentality stand point and one of the things that Ohio State did well was that they made you make choices quickly, and it seemed like when Minnesota had the puck there was always someone there. Even when they had good possession, there wasn’t a lot of room to operate. Do you feel like the guys did a better job just closing space?”
A: Yes. When there was a question about Peyton, and I mentioned that it was a team defense saying that its one aspect of our game that we are really trying to tighten up in all three zones. I appreciate the fact that you recognize that, and it is something that we have to maintain consistently though. This definitely was, when you look at our shots against, one of our lowest I think recently, and I think that is the reason for it. Nice start, and we are going the right direction, but now we have to be consistent with that.
Penn State has now won five-straight against the Gophers on home ice and eight of the last 10 meetings overall dating back to the 2017 Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
The Nittany Lions held the commanding 42-26 edge in shots on goal including the decisive 29-14 mark over the final two periods while going 1-for-2 on the power-play. Minnesota went 1-for-4 with the man-advantage and have now scored at least one power-play goal in eight-straight contests.
The seven goals scored are the most in program history in a single game against Minnesota while the five-goal margin of victory is also the highest ever against the Gophers. Penn State is currently outscoring Minnesota 28-13 over the last five games at Pegula Ice Arena.
This marks the sixth game this season the Nittany Lions have scored at least seven goals and the 20th time in program history.
Penn State had six players register multi-point games led by a trio of players with three points. With one goal and a pair of assists Folkes collects his seventh multi-point game this season and the 13th of his career.
With a pair of goals, Limoges registered his second-consecutive multi-goal game and his fourth this season, fifth of his career, while also recording his 11th multi-point effort this season and the 14th of his career.
Kerr collected a pair of assists for the game securing his third multi-point effort this season and the 12th of his career.
With one goal and two assists, Berger notched his fifth multi-point game this season and the 21st for his career while his linemates Biro and Marsh also notched multi-point efforts. Marsh had a pair of assists for his second such game of the season and seventh of his career and Biro notched one goal and two assists good for his ninth multi-point game this season and the 20th of his career.
Following his three-point effort, Biro has moved into a tie with Casey Bailey for sixth on the all-time scoring list with 80 career points.
Folkes’ goal moved him past Dylan Richard ’17 and into eighth on the Penn State all-time goals list with 32 for his career.
With his fourth goal of the season and eighth of his career, Hults has now tied Nate Jensen ’15 and David Thompson ’17 for eighth on the Penn State all-time goals list for defensemen.
Both teams return to Pegula Ice Arena tomorrow evening to close out the season series with another 6 p.m. puck drop.
The game will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.