PSU hockey looks to continue winning ways
UNIVERSITY PARK – A few weeks ago, Penn State men’s hockey coach Guy Gadowsky and a few of his players were asked about their concerns playing right after a long break. Last weekend they showed it was no issue at all.
Penn State defeated Wisconsin 5-1 Friday night, taking the early lead just 14 seconds into the first period and held it until the third period. Tarek Baker scored the only point for the Badgers at 11:51 in the third period. Sophomore Nate Sucese sealed the game with an empty net goal with just 57 seconds left in the game, tallying a hat trick - the second of the season and sixth in program history.
Saturday night was full of physicality, starting with Trevor Hamilton being ejected early following a five-minute minor for game misconduct. The Nittany Lions, once again, struck first at 13:11 into the first period, scored by Liam Folks. Wisconsin was quick to answer back less than 2 minutes later. Penn State regained the lead with one minute left in the second period. Freshman Sam Sternschein scored with the assist from teammates Nikita Pavlychev and Alec Marsh.
Chase Berger extended the Nittany Lions lead 56 seconds into the third period but Wisconsin fought back to tie the game up 3-3 by 18:08. As the game went into sudden death overtime, junior Andrew Sturtz snuck the puck past the Badger’s goalie, Kyle Hayton, 1:07 into the OT. The play was reviewed and ruled no goal after the referees rule contact with the goalie from senior captain James Robinson, pushing the game into a shootout. Folks not only started but ended the game for Penn State. Folks scored the shootout goal for Penn State that looked pretty similar to the goal he scored in the Big Ten Championship game against Wisconsin in March. The game ended in a 3-3 tie and Penn State took the extra point for winning the shootout.
Sucese was announced the Big Ten third star of the week on Tuesday afternoon, after scoring the game-winning goal, and his first career hat-trick, on Friday night and assisting Liam Folkes’ opening goal on Saturday. He has scored six goals and two assists in the past four games and is currently tied for the team lead in goals with junior Andrew Sturtz with ten goals this season, tied for fourth in the Big Ten rankings.
Penn State is now 12-7-3 for the season, extending their unbeaten streak to 10 games, and 5-4-3-2 in conference play. The No. 13 Nittany Lions will battle No. 6 Ohio State this weekend – 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday, at Pegula Ice Arena.