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DETROIT, Mich. - Junior Erik Autio (Espoo, Finland) ripped the game-winning goal on the power play in double-overtime to give No. 4 Penn State the, 4-3, victory over top-seeded Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals this evening from Joe Louis Arena.
Penn State improves to 23-11-2 on the year and will move into tomorrow night's Championship game against the second-seeded Badgers while Minnesota falls to 23-11-3 overall and will wait on an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament come Sunday afternoon during the selection show.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Penn State opened the scoring as freshman Nikita Pavlychev (Yaroslavl, Russia) shoved home a rebound off an initial shot by junior Trevor Hamilton (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.) just 1:05 into the first period for the 1-0 lead.
- Minnesota answered as Rem Pitlick fired a quick shot over the right shoulder of PSU freshman goaltender Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) off a great feed from behind the net by Darian Romanko for the 1-1 tie at 7:20 of the opening period.
- The Gophers grabbed their first lead of the game as Justin Kloos blasted a one-timer from the left slot with the man-advantage for the 2-1 advantage at 9:55 of the first period.
- The Nittany Lions potted the equalizer early in the middle frame as sophomore Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) skated around the back of the net from right to left and sent a backhand shot that hit classmate Alec Marsh's (Bridgewater, N.J.) elbow out front and squeaked past Minnesota net-minder Eric Schierhorn for the 2-2 tie at 3:48.
- Penn State grabbed the lead again early in the final period as senior Dylan Richard (Sherwood Park, Alberta) jammed the puck home out front with the man-advantage for the 3-2 score.
- Minnesota once again tied the game off an offensive zone draw as Jack Sadek sent a one-timer past Jones from the right point for the 3-3 score at 3:42 of the final frame.
- After multiple chances for each team in both the first and second overtimes it was Autio who potted the game-winner off a great feed from freshman Denis Smirnov (Moscow, Russia) with the man-advantage at 13:33 of the second overtime for the 4-3 victory.
Jones was sensational all night making big save after big save as he set a new career-high by stopping 37 pucks to improve to 21-9-2 on the year while Schierhorn was just as impressive collecting a career-high 59 saves of his own, but falls to 23-11-3 with the setback.
- This game becomes the longest in program history and Big Ten history surpassing the previous record also held by the Nittany Lions of 92:47 in a 2-1 double-overtime victory against Michigan on March 20, 2014 in the inaugural Big Ten Tournament. The total time of 93:33 also ranks 40th all-time in NCAA history.
- With his assist on the game-winning tally, Smirnov set a new single-season Penn State assists record of 28 passing the 27 of David Goodwin from last season.
- Pavlychev scored his first goal since November 19, 2016 against Arizona State ending a 22 game scoring drought.
- With a trio of assists sophomore Andrew Sturtz (Buffalo, N.Y.) secured his ninth multi-point game of the year and 17th of his career. This also marks his first-ever three assist game.
- The eight goals scored by Penn State so far in this year's tournament are the most for the Nittany Lions in the four years of Big Ten Tournament play.
- Penn State held the commanding 63-40 edge in shots while going 2-for-6 with the man-advantage. Minnesota was 1-for-2 on the power play.