Monday, February 25, 2013

M: Penn State 3 at Wisconsin 2 (OT)

So, let's reset.

Penn State, a first-year NCAA Division I program featuring eight members who arrived in Happy Valley before Terry Pegula's donation announcement, went into the Kohl Center Monday night to play a nationally-televised game on Big Ten Network against Wisconsin. The Badgers, after a slow start to their season, had gone 13-3-5 since December 1st to climb to 16th in this week's USCHO poll and - more importantly - 19th in the pairwise rankings. In front of 9,078 hostile fans, the Nittany Lions rallied from a two-goal third-period deficit to win 3-2 in overtime and, despite having nothing tangible to play for themselves in their final game of the season, effectively end historic power Wisconsin's chances of receiving at at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

Did I get that right? Unreal. This offseason is going to take forever.

For the record, Penn State finishes:
  • 19-16-0 in all games, including ACHA opponents and the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 team
  • 13-14-0 in NCAA games, which includes Division I and Division III
  • 11-12-0 against DI
  • 4-4-0 against major conference DI programs, including the ECAC's Union (0-2-0), the CCHA's Ohio State (1-0-0) and Michigan State (1-1-0), Hockey East's Vermont (1-0-0) and the WCHA's Wisconsin (1-1-0)
  • 3-2-0 against teams that will join PSU in the Big Ten next season - Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin being the opponents, of course
Less than one year ago, we were mourning a loss to Oakland in the ACHA national tournament and the championship-free death of the Icers.

More thoughts when I'm able to express them coherently, of course. For now, here is the recap, with what was one of the more fun live blogs I've ever done at the bottom.

Junior forward Taylor Holstrom (Yorba Linda, Calif.) scored the game-winning goal with 34 seconds left in overtime as the Penn State men's hockey team erased a 2-0 deficit in a 3-2 overtime victory against No. 16 Wisconsin in its season finale at the Kohl Center Monday night.

The Nittany Lions, who defeated a ranked opponent for the first time and improved to 3-2-0 against future Big Ten opponents, finished their inaugural NCAA Division I campaign at 13-14-0. Penn State, which also defeated Michigan State Jan. 26 in its only other appearance on BTN, improved to 10-2-0 when scoring a power-play goal.

Penn State found itself down 2-0 in the third period after goals from Mark Zengerle and Jason LaBate. The Nittany Lions then began to claw back beginning with Holstrom's marker. The forward tallied his first of the game at 6:48 of the period and, with 7:44 left in regulation, Casey Bailey (Anchorage, Alaska) tied the game with a power-play marker.

The stage was then set for Holstrom's heroics in the overtime frame. Bailey gloved a clearing attempt at the blue line and worked the puck toward the cage. After Max Gardiner's (Deephaven, Minn.) attempt was stopped, Holstrom fired the game-winner to the back of the cage.

Freshman netminder Matthew Skoff (McKees Rocks, Pa.) matched a career-high with 42 saves while Landon Peterson stopped 33 shots for the Badgers. Wisconsin outshot the Nittany Lions, 44-36, and went 0-for-4 on the power play. The Nittany Lions finished 1-for-4 with the man advantage.


  1. Minnesota Gophers fan here, congratulating PSU on their big win last night. It's always a pleasure to see Bucky go down, but I have to say that I was very impressed by Penn State's play. I caught a bit of the Sunday night game, and PSU looked overmatched. A much better showing last night .. PSU matched Wisconsin's skating and showed skill and grit. It's not easy to break through Bucky's trapping, grinding system. You guys certainly look alot better this year than most of us expected ... and this bodes very well for your future. You really don't have blue-chip recruits, so Guy Gadowsky has to know what he's doing - which means watch out when you start getting better recruits! Based on your showing vs MSU and UW this year, a .500 record in Big Ten play next year looks achievable.

    1. Thank you, sir. A little nervous about having to finally see you guys, but excited about it!

      It's really bizarre...sort of one of the themes of our season is that our biggest wins came immediately after our ugliest losses. RIT in front of 10K at their homecoming (which, stupid us, we figured would be our "big" win this year) came the day after being shut out at Buffalo State. Ohio State was the day after being shut out by Robert Morris. Vermont was the Saturday after an OTL to Neumann on a Tuesday. And now Wisconsin. Has to be said, those losses are part of the legacy of the season too, but the potential's very obviously there.

      Gadowsky's teams have always punched above their weight class when it comes to talent level...I looked it up one time, and (don't quote me on this) I think he only had one NHL draft pick combined at Alaska and Princeton. I think in terms of pedigree, we'll have a similar roster to OSU next year, but we've done an outstanding job recruiting good-fit players who can do what Gadowsky wants - get vertical and skate, pucks to the net. We imposed our style on a pretty good team, which is saying something.

      500...hope so, we'll see. I mean, 3-2 in year one is *crazy*, although we didn't have to see you or Michigan. Gadowsky told me one time that it'll be a different ballgame when teams are playing us with conference points on the line, but then again, Wisconsin certainly had something to play for last night, and we still won.