Series Grades: Wisconsin
After defeating Robert Morris in a one-game series on Oct. 25, No. 12 Penn State started Big Ten competition by welcoming No. 7 Wisconsin to Pegula Ice Arena for a two-game series. Penn State won the first game of the series 6-1, as six different Nittany Lions recorded goals.
In game two, Penn State would complete the sweep 4-2. Forward Sam Sternschein sniped a wrist shot glove side to put Penn State up 3-2 late in the third period. Nate Sucese followed with a shot into an open net to end the game. Here are the game grades for Penn State’s sweep over Wisconsin:
In game one, Penn State regained their offensive identity scoring six goals on 44 total shots along with converting four powerplay goals on eight opportunities. Forwards Sam Sternschein, Evan Barratt, Nate Sucese, Denis Smirnov and Aarne Talvitie recorded goals.
The defensive unit also got involved in the onslaught of goals as Alex Stevens recorded his second collegiate goal 63 seconds into the second period. The Nittany Lions outshot the Badgers 44-39 and consistently created scoring chances throughout the game.
As expected, game two was a more contested game between the two teams. Penn State and Wisconsin were neck-in-neck with ties 1-1 and 2-2 as the game progressed.
Penn State would take the lead in the third period as forward Sam Sternschein wristed a shot glove side to put Penn State up 3-2 with eight minutes left in the third period. Forward Nate Sucese would complete the sweep as he drained a 175-foot shot into an open net as Wisconsin tried to tie it late.
The defensive unit looked impressive only allowing three shots to get behind goaltender Peyton Jones throughout the series. Paul DeNaples was applauded by the crowd as he blocked two shots injuring himself during a Wisconsin offensive series in game two.
Frustrated Wisconsin players got sticks on pucks, limiting zone entries, clearing their zone, and finishing checks. Besides a few causal turnovers and allowing two powerplay goals on eight opportunities within the series, the defensive unit excelled.
Peyton Jones performed exceptionally well within the two-game series, raising his record this season to (6-0-0). In game one, Jones stopped 38 shots only allowing one goal as Cole Caufield scored on the powerplay to make it 2-1 in the second period. After allowing one goal, Jones closed the door on any other possible opportunities for Wisconsin to score, making save after save.
In game two, Jones regressed a bit allowing forward Jack Gorniak to sneak one in on the doorstep of the crease and defensive men Wyatt Kalynuk sniping a shot glove side. Jones would find his game-saving 25 shots and made the saves necessary for Penn State to complete the sweep, along with assisting on Sam Sternschein's goal that would become the game-winner.
Coach Guy Gadowsky and his staff took advantage of playing a one-game series the week before and used the time to prepare the Nittany Lions for their biggest matchup of the season so far. It was evident throughout the series that the coaching staff was able to get the offense to regain their scoring identity, along with keeping the team calm and collective when Roman Ahcan injured Denis Smirnov by a check to the head.
The Nittany Lions and Badgers will meet again in Madison, Wisconsin on Friday Feb. 14, 2020 for a two-game series.
Jordan Hession is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Junior / Broadcast Journalism Minoring in History