UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Junior Sam Sternschein (Syosset, N.Y.) ripped home the game-winning goal midway through the third period to break the tie as No. 12 Penn State completed the weekend sweep of No. 7 Wisconsin on Friday night in Big Ten Conference action.
The Nittany Lions move to 6-1-0 on the year and 2-0-0-0 in conference action with the victory while the Badgers fall to 4-4-0 and 0-2-0-0 in Big Ten action with the loss.
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How it happened
- Wisconsin opened the scoring as a battle on the end boards led to Ryder Donovan finding Jack Gorniak at the near post and he slipped on under the glove of PSU senior net-minder Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) for the 1-0 edge at 10:07 of the first period.
- Penn State found the equalizer early in the second period during the power-play as senior classmates Brandon Biro (Sherwood Park, Alberta) and Nikita Pavlychev (Yaroslavl, Russia) used a beautiful give-and-go play with Biro finishing at the back door for the 1-1 score at 5:34 of the frame.
- The Nittany Lions then took the lead thanks to a fortunate bounce off the glass as senior Liam Folkes (Scarborough, Ontario) ripped the puck into the zone from the redline and it took a wonky bounce as Badger net-minder Daniel Lebedeff went to play it leaving the net wide-open for a streaking Alex Limoges (Winchester, Va.) who slammed in the bouncing puck for the 2-1 edge at 13:00.
- The Badgers pulled even late in the second period as the puck slid to Wyatt Kalynuk in the slot and he ripped a wrister over the glove of Jones for the 2-2 tie at the 18:20 mark.
- Penn State regained the lead in the midway through the third period as Pavlychev fed Sternschein and the junior skated below the right faceoff dot and ripped a shot near-side past the glove of Badger goaltender Daniel Lebedeff for the 3-2 margin at 11:50 of the final stanza.
- Senior Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.) sealed the deal with an empty net goal from 180 feet away at 18:28 for the 4-2 final.
Check out the highlights from Friday night as No. 12 Penn State completes the sweep of No. 7 Wisconsin during the opening weekend of #B1GHockey action!! #WeAre #HockeyValley pic.twitter.com/zRymEy3A5g
— Penn State Men’s Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) November 2, 2019
- Jones stopped 25 shots to improve to 6-0-0 on the year while also recording the seventh point of his career with the secondary assist on Sternschein’s game-winning goal. Jones increases his own Penn State record with his seven career assists and points.
- Lebedeff falls to 4-4-0 on the year after making 30 saves in the loss.
Opening statement Boy, what a great assist from the Roar Zone tonight. I thought we played well the entire game, but we had a bit of a lull in the third when it was 2-2, and we just couldn’t get a lot of energy. During the timeout, the Roar Zone was awesome and got our energy back, so they deserve a big assist for that one.
Q: [Nate] Sucese tied [Andrew] Sturtz’s record for goals in program history, what’s your reaction to that? A: It’s not surprising. One of the things you really have to give Nate so much credit for is his mental ability, to stay in it. He finds a way to produce, he’s an incredibly consistent producer and that’s really difficult to do. You look at his numbers year in and year out, he’s incredibly consistent, and I can’t tell you how difficult that is. He really deserves it. It’s a great accolade and he deserves every bit of it.
Q: What adjustments did you make on defense going into this weekend? A: It wasn’t adjustments from last weekend, it’s adjustments that we tried to make from last year to this year, that took a little while to sink in. I think if you look at it specifically, there’s one excellent shift by Mason Snell in terms of how conscious he was about his gas in the neutral zone, is something that we needed to see improvement on. I think all of our defensemen, specifically Snell tonight, were really good.
Q: Sam Sternschein had a productive off-season this summer, what’s it like to see him make big plays? A: We’re really happy for him, and he had a great experience at the Islanders camp that should have given him a lot of confidence. He’s a kid that can always score, he’s always scored, and the reason the coaching staff is really happy for him is because he’s had to work hard, learning how to play without the puck. He’s a great kid who’s really working hard at it and it’s nice to see when he’s doing well and he’s conscious of it, that he gets rewarded for it like tonight. It was really nice to see.
Q; How much confidence do you get from Jones playing so consistently? A: It’s something that builds and builds, and that’s the way hockey is. At any time, when your goaltender is playing well, and you have confidence, obviously you play with more confidence, but you play faster, you don’t have as much worry, you do things that you should do rather than doing things you’re scared to do. It does really help. The goaltender’s performance when its consistent like that helps you play a better all-around game.
- Penn State held the 34-27 edge in shots while going 1-for-2 on the power-play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
- Ranked seventh nationally entering the weekend, Wisconsin is the highest ranked team Penn State has ever swept as the Nittany Lions now improve to 7-2-2 against the Badgers when both teams have been ranked in the top-20.
- With his fifth goal of the season, Biro now has a mini three-game point-streak (2-2-4).
- PSU improves to 19-12-3 all-time against Wisconsin including an 11-5-1 mark at home.
- Pavlychev and junior Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis) each added a pair of assists for their second and third multi-point games this season and the 11th and 15th of their careers, respectively.
- With his empty net goal, Sucese is now tied with Andrew Sturtz for the program record of 54.
Penn State remains home to continue the conference slate when Michigan State comes to town for a pair of contests next Friday evening at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m.
For more information on the 2019-20 season presented by the Penn State Bookstore: the Official Bookstore of Penn State Athletics, visit the men’s hockey page at GoPSUsports.com or call 1-800-NITTANY Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.