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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The No. 11 Penn State men’s ice hockey team was unable to complete the weekend sweep of No. 7 Minnesota as they dropped a 6-3 decision in the series finale this afternoon from 3M Arena at Mariucci.
Both teams move to 2-2-0 on the year and 1-1-0 in the Big Ten Conference.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Minnesota opened the scoring as Jack Glover released a wrist shot from the right point that was tipped on the right side of the crease by Casey Mittelstadt and past sophomore Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) and into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead at 13:34.
- The Gophers extended their lead with less than a minute remaining in the opening period as Brent Gates fired one to the back of the net from just in front of the crease for the 2-0 advantage at 19:17.
- Penn State responded early in the second period as senior Trevor Hamilton (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.) sent a nice up ice pass to junior Andrew Sturtz (Buffalo, N.Y.) who broke free from the defense. However, his shot clanked the post and classmate Alec Marsh (Bridgewater, N.J.) cleaned it up for his first of the season at 1:53 for the 2-1 score.
- The hosts responded as Sam Rossini was the beneficiary of a lot of open ice and back-and-forth play during a 4-on-4 and found the back of the net for his first collegiate goal and the 3-1 lead at 15:28 of the middle frame.
- The Nittany Lions came right back as Sturtz toe dragged into open ice around the right circle and fired a wrister past Gopher goalie Eric Schierhorn on the power-play for the 3-2 score at 16:06. Junior Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) and senior Erik Autio (Espoo, Finland) assisted on Sturtz’s second goal in as many nights.
- Minnesota regained the two-goal lead early in the third period as Brannon McManus skated into the zone and slammed on the brakes before firing a wrist shot past the glove of Jones for the 4-2 lead at 1:43.
- McManus added his second of the game as he fired one over the right shoulder of Jones at 8:12 of the final period.
- The Lions again cut into the deficit taking advantage of the power-play as sophomore Denis Smirnov (Moscow, Russia) collected a shot from Autio that went intentionally wide and wrapped it around the right side post and through the legs of Schierhorn for the 5-3 score at 11:50. Freshman Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis.) earned the secondary assist on the play.
- McManus then secured the hat-trick on a one-timer after a nice drop pass from Rem Pitlick on the power-play at 16:09 of the third period for the 6-3 lead.
Jones stopped 26 shots and falls to 2-2-0 on the season after playing the first 56:09 before being replaced by junior Chris Funkey (Orland Park, Ill.) who wasn’t called upon to make a save over the final 3:51. Schierhorn secures the victory to move to 2-2-0 on the season after stopping 23 shots.
- Sturtz registers his first multi-point game of the season and the 19th of his career. His 42 career goals are now just three shy of tying Casey Bailey’s program record of 45.
- Smirnov is now riding a three-game goal streak, which is one shy of his career-high of four.
- Autio secures his second multi-point game this season and the third of his career with a pair of assists.
- Minnesota held the 32-26 edge in shots on goal.
- Penn State went 2-for-3 on the power-play for the second consecutive night while Minnesota went 1-for-4 with the man-advantage.
- Penn State finally returns home to open its home slate with a 7 p.m. affair on Thursday evening against American International College.
- The Nittany Lions will honor their 2017 Big Ten Tournament Champions and the first-ever NCAA Tournament team in a brief pregame ceremony.
- The game will air live on the Big Ten Network.
- The teams will conclude the series the following night at 7 p.m.