Gophers Fail to Capitalize on Three Breakaways, Lose in OT in Happy Valley
State College, PA – The Gophers have made something of a habit of mounting comeback bids recently. Minnesota came back to take the lead against Harvard in the Mariucci Classic, and they came back to beat UConn in the game prior. Comebacks are risky business, though, and tonight the Gophers paid the price. Minnesota dominated the third period and scored twice in the final stanza to force Friday’s game against Penn State into overtime, but a seeing-eye shot from the point by PSU’s Vince Pedrie found its way through Eric Schierhorn and into the Gopher net. The goal won the game for Penn State (13-3-3 Overall, 3-0-0 B1G) handing Minnesota their second straight OT loss.
Penn State came into the game averaging the most shots on goal of any team in the nation at 45, but it was the Gophers (8-10-0, 3-2-0) who came out firing pucks at the net. Minnesota put 13 on Penn State’s Eamon McAdam in the first period, including two shorthanded breakaways on the same shift by Hudson Fasching, but McAdam did not let any pucks through. Eric Schierhorn stopped all eight Nittany Lion shots in the first, and at the break the teams were tied at 0-0.
PSU was on the board early in the second, getting a goal off of a scrum in front of the Minnesota crease by Zach Saar. The Nittany Lions increased their lead to 2-0 with 13:01 left in the second on a partial-breakaway by Eric Sturtz. Although the Gophers put a mighty 18 shots on net in the middle frame, including several on their 1:45 worth of 5-on-3 advantage, McAdam was up to the task. The second period ended with a 2-0 Penn State lead.
The Gophers would be the ones to score early in the third, however, when Brent Gates put home a pass from Vinni Lettieri at 1:39 to cut the lead to one. Lettieri forechecked hard and caused a turnover before feeding Gates the puck in front of the net. Gates tied the game with his second of the night and third of the season at 10:12, on a broken play in front of the Nittany Lion Crease.
Minnesota dominated the puck in the last ten minutes of the third, creating opportunities and generating lots of scoring chances. Hudson Fasching rang the post with a tip-in attempt with just a couple minutes left in the period. McAdam stood tall again, though, and the teams headed to overtime knotted at two.
The OT was all Penn State, as the Nittany Lions rattled off four shots to Minnesota’s one before Vince Pedrie’s wrister from the point snuck through a mass of bodies and found the back of the Gopher net. The goal came at 3:57 of the overtime period, and gave Penn State a big 3-2 victory. The final shots on goal for the game were 42-39 in favor of Minnesota, and the players must feel like this was a game that they could have had.
The loss for the Gophers is their third overtime loss of the season, and second in a row. Minnesota is now 2-3 in OT games this year, losing to Penn State, Harvard and Minnesota State, with both wins against The Ohio State University in early December.
The Gophers will face this same Penn State team tomorrow at 2PM central time. The game is not on TV nor does it stream for free, but it can be found on the radio at AM1500 and can be streamed on BTN’s paid streaming service BTN Plus.