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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Nittany Lion men's hockey team never trailed in a historic 5-3 victory at Minnesota Saturday night at Mariucci Arena before 10,151 fans. Four Nittany Lions tallied multiple points including Zach Saar (Richland, Mich.) who had the game-winning goal with 3:41 to go in the game.
Penn State (17-8-3, 7-5-0-0 Big Ten) delivered a loss to Minnesota (14-13-0, 9-3-0-0 Big Ten) at home during Big Ten play for only the second time in three years.
Saar and Luke Juha (Mississauga, Ontario) both had two points on a goal and an assist, while David Goodwin (Des Peres, Mo.) and Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) each dished two assists in Penn State's second win over the Gophers this year. Eamon McAdam (Perkasie, Pa.) finished with 34 saves for his 10th win this season.
Tied 3-3 late in the third period, the Nittany Lions earned an offensive zone faceoff that was won by Berger. Saar snuck behind the scrum, took the puck and fired into a Gopher, collected the rebound and struck for the game-winning goal.
With the goaltender pulled, Kenny Brooks (Las Vegas, Nev.) iced the game with an empty-net goal assisted by Berger sending the Gopher fans to the exits. All that came after Minnesota seemingly stole the lead through Taylor Cammarata's rebound goal with 13:20, but Penn State challenged the play and it was overturned due to Cammarata being offside.
Penn State earned a 1-0 lead through Matt Mendelson (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and David Glen (Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta) doubled it on the power play in the second period. Juha earned a 3-2 lead before Minnesota knotted the score late in the second frame.
A free-flowing first period saw few opportunities for either team through the first 10 minutes, but that would change when Mendelson put away his first collegiate goal with 9:17 to go. Zach Saar (Richland, Mich.) snapped a shot just inside the blue line and his rebound off Eric Schierhorn (25 saves) went flying into the air and landed in front of the crease for Mendelson.
The Nittany Lions would end the first ahead for the first time at Mariucci after scoring the first goal in a game for the first time since Jan. 22 at Ohio State. Minnesota held a 12-8 edge in shots.
The second period would be the opposite in terms of action as the teams traded barbs, concluding in five goals scored, three of which were tallied in a span of 2:24 and four within 4:34 of action.
Ricky DeRosa (Aston, Pa.) had a breakaway chance with 15:30 to go that was stopped by Schierhorn and Mendelson's followup wraparound was stoned on the right post. The Nittany Lions draw a penalty on the play for its first power play chance of the night.
On the power play, a patient Goodwin explored the right side of the ice, weaving his way through the Gopher defense and sliding a perfect pass to a rushing Glen who came down from the left point for a 2-0 lead with 13:59 remaining. The goal was Glen's first since Dec. 11 vs. Princeton, snapping an 11-game scoring drought.
The two-goal lead was threatened almost immediately as the Gophers went on a power play of their own. McAdam made a save on a shot from distance and the puck trickled toward the goal line, where it stopped and was cleared out by the Nittany Lions. After a review, the play stood as called and PSU led 2-0 with 12:55 to go.
Minnesota would cash in almost a minute later as Jake Bischoff unleashed a one-timer from the high slot off a feed from Tyler Sheehy to cut the lead in half with 11:49 remaining. The power-play goal was Minnesota's first against the Nittany Lions this season in 15 chances. PSU was a perfect 6-for-6 on the PK on Friday night.
A little more than 90 seconds later, Minnesota would even the score as Sheehy took a Justin Kloos offering down the left wing and went bar down for his 10th goal of the season.
Penn State used only 46 seconds to respond and regain its advantage as Juha struck for his fifth of the year from Alec Marsh (Bridgewater, N.J.). Marsh was posted behind the net and found a rushing Juha who was unmarked in the slot.
The Nittany Lions looked like they may get to the second intermission with the lead as they earned a power play chance with 2:11 remaining. The Gophers put forth an aggressive forecheck and Penn State couldn't sustain and offensive pressure. Eventually, Hudson Fasching found Justin Kloos on a 2-on-1 break to even the score with 39.7 seconds left for the short-handed goal.
Penn State finished 1-for-2 on the power play and Minnesota finished 1-for-3. The Gophers held the shot advantage for a second straight night, out-shooting Penn State 37-29.
Penn State improved to 3-9-0 all-time against Minnesota and 1-5-0 at Mariucci Arena. The Nittany Lions have now won in all five opposing Big Ten arenas.
Penn State joins Michigan State as the only Big Ten programs to win since the hockey conference was formed in 2013-14.
Penn State improved to 10-0-0 when leading after the first period and 13-0-1 when scoring the game's first goal.
The Nittany Lions are now 4-2-2 in true road games, matching their road win total from last season (4-9-0). In all games away from Pegula Ice Arena, Penn State is 6-4-2 after going 5-13-1 last year.
Penn State is unbeaten when conceding three or fewer goals (16-0-3). PSU improved to 10-0-0 when scoring at least five goals.
Zach Saar earned his second multi-point game of his career and first since Dec. 7, 2013 at Wisconsin.
David Goodwin leads all Nittany Lions with seven points against Minnesota.
Penn State skated with just 11 forwards on Friday night due to various injuries.
The Nittany Lions went 8-for-9 on the penalty kill this weekend.
Penn State was out-shot for just the fifth time all season.
NEXT TIME OUT
Penn State heads to East Lansing, Mich. for a two-game series at Michigan State, who split with first-place Michigan this weekend.