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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Sophomore Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.) registered the sixth hat-trick in Penn State hockey history as he helped lead the 14th-ranked Nittany Lions past No. 15 Wisconsin, 5-1, in Big Ten Conference action this evening from Pegula Ice Arena to kick start the second half of the regular season.
PSU extends its unbeaten streak to nine games (7-0-2) as they improve to 12-7-2 on the year and 5-4-2-1 in the Big Ten remaining in third place just one point back of Ohio State. The Badgers fall to 10-10-2 on the year and 4-6-1-0 in conference play.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Penn State opened the scoring early taking advantage of a power-play after the Badgers were whistled for high-sticking just 14 seconds into the opening frame. Freshman Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis.) was able to find classmate Evan Barratt (Bristol, Pa.) below the left dot and the rookie fired a wrist shot beating Wisconsin net-minder Jack Berry to the short side over the blocker for the 1-0 lead at 1:36.
- The Nittany Lions extended their lead to 2-0 at 9:00 of the first period as junior Derian Hamilton (Port McNeill, B.C.) sent a stretch pass ahead to sophomore Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.) who snuck behind the defense and Sucese buried the puck past the blocker of Berry.
- PSU kept the pressure on taking just 11 seconds in the second period to tilt the score to 3-0 as junior Andrew Sturtz (Buffalo, N.Y.) took the puck off the end wall and fed classmate Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) on the left of the crease and he lit the lamp at 0:11 of the middle frame.
- Sucese then notched his second goal of the game as he fired home a shorty to chase Berry from the net at 3:45 of the second period for the 4-0 margin.
- Tarek Baker ended the shutout bid for Penn State as he got Wisconsin on the board off a nice cross ice feed from Ryan Wagner for the 4-1 deficit at 11:54 of the third period.
- The Nittany Lions sealed the game as Sucese was able to tip the cap and finish the hat-trick as he hit the empty net with just 57 seconds remaining in regulation for the 5-1 final.
- Sophomore Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) improves to 11-5-1 on the year after collecting 25 saves.
- Berry takes the loss falling to 3-3-0 on the year after allowing four goals and making ten saves over the opening 23:18 of the game before being relieved by Kyle Hayton in the second period.
- Hayton didn't allow a goal while making 17 stops in 35:13 of ice time.
- The Nittany Lions improve to 14-8-0 all-time against the Badgers including a 13-2-0 mark over the last 15 games and are now 6-3-0 against Wisconsin at Pegula Ice Arena.
- Penn State held the 32-26 edge in shots and went 1-for-2 with the man-advantage and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
- Penn State secured its first win in the opening game back from winter break over the last four seasons with tonight's victory.
- All six Penn State hat-tricks have come on home ice with five happening at Pegula Ice Arena. The 2017-18 season also marks the first season Penn State has had multiple hat-tricks in the same season as senior James Robinson (Cochrane, Alberta) registered one earlier this season against Mercyhurst.
- Penn State's goal just 11 seconds into the second period was one second shy of the program record for fastest goal to start a period by Andrew Sturtz who scored 10 seconds into a game against Michigan State in December 2015.
- With his second assist of the season and the fourth of his career, Jones has now tied Eamon McAdam for the Penn State goaltending record for assists and points.
- Sucese now has two career shorthanded tallies as he collected his second straight multi-goal game setting a career-high with three goals. He has now scored two or more goals seven times in his career.
- Sucese leads all active Penn State players with six goals and five assists for 11 points in just six career games against Wisconsin.
- With four shorthanded goals this season, Penn State leads the Big Ten and is tied for third nationally.
- Sturtz extends his career-best point streak to seven games with his second period assist.
- Sophomore Brandon Biro (Sherwood Park, Alb.) extended his career-best point-streak to five games as he assisted on Sucese's empty net tally in the third period.
- Senior Trevor Hamilton (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.) registered his tenth career multi-point game and his seventh this season with a pair of assists. He also blocked a team-best six shots.
Both teams return to Pegula tomorrow night to close out the weekend with a 7 p.m. puck drop.