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SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Despite a goal and assist each from sophomores Brandon Biro (Sherwood Park, Alb.) and Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.), fourth-seeded Penn State was defeated by top-seed Notre Dame, 3-2, this evening in a Big Ten semifinal matchup at Compton Family Ice Arena.
With the win the Fighting Irish move on to next Saturday's Big Ten Tournament Championship game where they will face the winner of the Ohio State vs. Michigan game while Penn State will await a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament during the selection show next Sunday.
Notre Dame improves to 24-9-2 on the year while the Nittany Lions fall to 18-14-5 overall.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Irish opened the scoring as Jordan Gross flicked a shot on net from the blueline that fluttered through a screen and under the blocker of Penn State sophomore goaltender Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) for the 1-0 lead at 6:18 of the first period.
- The Nittany Lions answered taking advantage of the power-play as senior Erik Autio (Espoo, Finland) blasted a shot on goal and Biro collected the rebound on the left side of the net and sent a saucer pass to Sucese who one-timed a shot into a yawning net for the 1-1 tie at 11:43 of the opening frame.
- Notre Dame responded with a power-play tally of its own as Andrew Peeke was able to rip home a rebound on the right side of the crease for the 2-1 lead at 14:03 of the first period.
- Biro then out hustled a Notre Dame defenseman into the offensive zone and after Irish net-minder Cale Morris stopped his initial attempt he collected his own rebound and slid the puck past his right pad and into the net for the 2-2 tie at 15:43.
- With solid goaltending expanded the following 40-plus minutes, the Irish finally broke through with a rebound goal by Jack Jenkins with just 30.9 seconds remaining for the 3-2 victory.
Jones secured his second-most saves this season with 44, but falls to 17-12-4 on the year while Morris improves to 23-7-1 after stopping 43 shots.
- Notre Dame held the slim 47-45 advantage in shots while each team went 1-for-3 with the man-advantage.
- Penn State sees its five-game winning-streak snapped as well as its five-game Big Ten Tournament winning-streak as they fall to 7-4 all-time in the tournament.
- Notre Dame improves to 5-2-2 all-time against Penn State including the 4-0-1-1 record against the Nittany Lions this season.
- Freshman Alex Limoges (Winchester, Va.) sees his career-best five-game point-streak snapped as he was held off the scoresheet.
- Jones breaks his own Big Ten Tournament record of 118 saves during the 2017 tournament as he finishes the 2018 tournament with 121 saves.
- With one goal and one assist each in the first period, Biro and Sucese collect their eighth and fourth multi-point games of the season, respectively. For Biro it marks the 11th of his career and for Sucese his 14th.
- With a pair of first period assists, Autio secures his second multi-point game this season and just the fourth of his career. The two assists also tie him with junior Andrew Sturtz (Buffalo, N.Y.) for third all-time at Penn State and his 58 career points are now just two shy of Luke Juha '16 for the most all-time by a Nittany Lion defenseman.