What Penn State Hockey Split with Notre Dame Means to Big Ten Championship Hopes
Penn State Hockey split a series this past weekend against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-2 W) and (3-5 L).
This marked the fourth overall win in Compton Family Ice Arena for the Nittany Lions, and the first regular season win in three years.
Notre Dame’s record in South Bend now stands at 6-3-1. After this weekend, the Minnesota Golden Gophers still hold the Big Ten lead with an impressive conference record of 10-2-0, compared to the Lion’s 7-5-0, good for second in the Big Ten.
Friday Night Recap
Penn State Hockey improved to 10-0 in opening series games this season after a high-scoring affair Friday night.
The Fighting Irish started the scoring off with a goal from Jesse Lansdell, a nifty backhand roof job that went over Liam Souliere’s glove. Luckily, by the time the first intermission ended, the Nittany Lions took the lead. They scored a pair of goals 74 seconds apart with goals contributed by Connor McMenamin and Paul DeNaples.
The glove side was a favorite for the Fighting Irish, as Ryder Rolston scored a powerplay goal short side at the 18:08 mark of the second period.
Connor MacEachern ended up scoring the game-winner, followed by a pair of empty net goals late in the third by Dylan Gratton and Paul DeNaples. Opening games have not been an issue for Penn State thus far, the worry comes with clinching the series closer.
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Saturday Night Recap
Penn State Hockey outshot Notre Dame 50-22 Saturday night but still fell short losing 5-3.
The Lions dominated for large stretches, but couldn’t figure out Irish goaltender Ryan Bischel, who now holds a .925 save percentage on the season. The Irish opened the scoring for the second straight night with Ryder Rolston’s second goal of the weekend.
Soon after, Kevin Wall tied the game up 1-1 from a pass off the pads from Connor MacEachern at the 12:24 mark of the middle frame. Even with constant pressure from the Lions, Notre Dame accomplished the 5-3 victory.
Additional goal scorers for Penn State included Connor McMenamin and Christian Sarlo, with contributors from Notre Dame including Justin Janicke, Jackson Pierson, Jack Adams, and Landon Slaggert.
The Nittany Lions are officially on holiday break, and won’t play for another 20 days, when they take on RIT for a New Year’s Eve series on Dec. 30th and Dec. 31st. They have now improved to an overall 15-5 record and will look to keep the momentum going to the year’s second half.