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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Nittany Lion men’s hockey team dropped a 4-1 game to Minnesota at Mariucci Arena on Friday night in front of 10,053 fans. Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) scored a game-tying goal in the first period and Matthew Skoff (McKees Rocks, Pa.) saved 39 to backstop the short-handed Penn State side.
Penn State (16-8-3, 6-5-0-0 Big Ten) dropped its fourth straight game and was short-handed before the night began. The Nittany Lions didn’t have a healthy scratch, missing three due to injury and a fourth to suspension, leaving them one forward short of a full lineup. As the game wore on, another forward went down as well.
To make matters worse, Penn State took eight penalties resulting in six Minnesota (14-12-0, 9-2-0-0 Big Ten) power plays. Penn State was successful in killing off all six opportunities, but spent 11:14 of action on the kill.
The first-place Gophers scored on the game’s first shot just 1:14 into action as Hudson Fasching one-timed a Connor Reilly offering from the right faceoff circle. Despite the early goal, Penn State bounced back comfortably, attempting four of the next five shots to gain momentum.
That momentum was rewarded when Berger scored his 12th of the season midway through the period as he put away a Derian Hamilton (Port McNeill, British Columbia) shot that was initially stopped by Eric Scheirhorn (31 saves). David Goodwin (Des Peres, Mo.) picked up his team-leading 16th assist and 22nd point on the play.
Penn State’s pressure continued to give the Gophers trouble, leading to what looked to be the go-ahead goal barely a minute later. A scramble in front resulted in Tommy Olczyk (Long Grove, Ill.) burying a tally from the right faceoff circle, but after a review, the officials ruled that there was goaltender interference and wiped the play clean.
Eventually, Minnesota capitalized right after a Penn State penalty as Taylor Cammarata scored from the right wing with 48 seconds remaining. Penn State had limited the Gophers to two shots on net, but Cammarata drove to the net and scored high for a lead Minnesota wouldn’t relinquish.
In the second, Minnesota went on the power play after only 43 seconds of action. That momentum allowed the Gophers to take nine of the first 10 shots. Minnesota cashed in when Tyler Sheehy put away a Justin Kloos feed in the slot with 11:29 remaining for a 3-1 advantage. Skoff made 18 saves in the frame to keep the Nittany Lions close.
The third period saw Penn State carry the play for the opening five minutes before coincidental minors made the play 4-on-4. A minute into the 4-on-4 segment, Leon Bristedt found himself all alone after Nick Seeler took out Vince Pedrie (Rochester, Minn.) on the play. Bristedt put away a Vinni Lettieri pass from behind the net for the final goal of the game.
The Nittany Lions would spend nearly six minutes of the third period on the penalty kill, eventually escaping unscathed but losing valuable time to try and eat into the Gopher lead. Ultimately, Minnesota earned a 43-32 shot advantage, with 12 of those attempts coming on the man-advantage.
Penn State finished 0-for-2 on the power play and the Gophers held a comfortable 45-22 advantage at the faceoff dot.
• Penn State was out-shot for just the fourth time all season, as Minnesota held a 43-32 advantage.
• Penn State fell to 2-9-0 all-time against Minnesota and 0-5-0 at Mariucci Arena
• Penn State skated with just 11 forwards on Friday night.
• The Nittany Lions went 6-for-6 on the penalty kill Friday night, the most PK chances against all season. Penn State has a PK percentage of 84.6 percent.
• The eight penalties against Penn State were the most committed all season, matching the eight committed vs. St. Lawrence on Oct. 29, 2015.
• Chase Berger finished as the only Nittany Lion with a positive rating (plus-1). Berger has scored in two of the last three games after snapping an eight-game scoring drought.
• Matthew Skoff saved 39 shots, third most all season (43 vs. Sacred Heart on Nov. 14; 41 vs. Michigan on Jan. 28).
• Derian Hamilton made his first appearance since Jan. 9 against Minnesota and only his third appearance since Nov. 14
• David Goodwin leads all Nittany Lions with five points against Minnesota.
NEXT TIME OUT
Penn State wraps up is two game series at Minnesota on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET. The game will be carried live by Fox Sports North and BTN2Go for Hockey Day Minnesota.