MADISON, Wisc. – Despite holding off Wisconsin in the early parts of the game, Penn State couldn’t keep up with the Badgers. The No. 18 ranked Badgers pulled away from the Nittany Lions with three goals in the third period to win 5-0.
Sophomore goalie P.J. Musico kept the Lions in the game, stopping 46 of 51 shots. Some of Musico’s saves were acrobatic. Lions’ head coach Guy Gadowsky said his goalie was “fantastic.”
Gadowsky said the team was chasing the game instead of controlling it.
“We got beat pretty badly on shots and I don’t think that told the whole story,” Gadowsky said. “They had five or six breakaways in the last five minutes.”
Just when it looked like Penn State would come away unscathed in the first period, Connor Varley was called for holding.
On the ensuing power kill, Musico made several huge saves to keep the Badgers off the scoreboard before the horn. The two teams went into the first intermission scoreless as a result.
Each team recorded six shots on goal in the first period and that is as good as it got for the Lions.
Penn State killed off the remaining time left on the penalty early in the second period. However, Badgers’ captain John Ramage blasted a slap shot from the high slot past Musico just 19 seconds later.
Tommy Olczyk got the only scoring chance for the Lions in the second period when a loose puck along the boards was centered to him. However, Badgers’ goalie Joel Rumpel denied him the game-tying goal.
Just minutes later, Penn State made an error that cost them. After getting caught with too many men on the ice, the Badgers capitalized on a loose puck in the crease. Michael Mersch got credited with his 17th goal of the season after the puck snuck its way into the net after it bounced off a Lion defenseman.
Penn State’s best chance of the game came during a power play in the third period. Mark Yanis wound up a slap shot that Rumpel stopped. The rebound ended up on the end of the stick of sophomore Max Gardiner. Rumpel was able to shut the door.
Badgers’ winger Tyler Barnes also got a goal of his own after tallying an assist on each of Wisconsin’s first three goals.
The final goal was scored when Brendan Woods jumped on a loose puck that Musico couldn’t reach in time.
In the end, the Badgers outshot the Lions 51-22.
Despite Musico’s performance, Gadowsky said freshman Matt Skoff will start in goal Monday night as planned.