Gophers Swept at Penn State, Travel to Pegula Ice Arena for First Round of Big Ten Tournament
GopherSports.com. – The No. 8 Gopher Hockey program dropped a 5-2 Big Ten contest to No. 18 Penn State on Saturday night in the regular-season finale at Pegula Ice Arena.
Minnesota will return to University Park next weekend to open the Big Ten Tournament with a best-of-three quarterfinal series. Details for that series will be shared when finalized.
Mike Szmatula and Brent Gates Jr. picked up goals for the Gophers while Mat Robson made 34 saves to fall to 7-4-1 on the year.
Penn State (16-13-5 overall, 9-10-5-2 Big Ten) jumped out to a three-goal lead on the Gophers (19-15-2, 10-12-2-1) with goals from Alex Limoges, Denis Smirnov and Brandon Biro through the first half of game action on Saturday.
Szmatula put the Maroon & Gold on the board late in the second period when he notched his ninth of the year at 18:02 off assists from Scott Reedy and Jack Glover.
But the Nittany Lions would outscore Minnesota 2-1 in the final stanza with Limoges picking up his second of the game with a power-play goal at 2:37 and James Robinson adding an empty netter at 18:53.
Sandwiched in between the Penn State goals was Gates’ 12th goal of the year at 14:44. Tyler Sheehy and Tommy Novak picked up assists on Minnesota’s second goal.
The Gophers outshot Penn State 41-40 on the night. Minnesota’s penalty kill was 4-for-5 although the power play went 0-for-5.
The Gophers will return to Penn State next weekend for a Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal series. The best-of-three series opens with Game One on Friday, March 2, Game Two on Saturday, March 3 and Game Three, if necessary, on Sunday, March 4. Additional game information will be announced when available.