UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Junior Alex Limoges (Winchester, Va.) scored late in the 3-on-3 overtime period to secure the extra conference point for No. 11 Penn State following a 3-3 tie against No. 18 Minnesota in Big Ten Conference action on Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
The Nittany Lions improve to 19-10-4 on the year and 11-8-4-1 in conference play while Minnesota moves to 14-11-6 overall and 9-6-6-4 in Big Ten action. For the moment, the Nittany Lions jumped ahead of Minnesota atop the Big Ten standings with 38 points while the Gophers have 37
HOW IT HAPPENED
* Penn State opened the scoring with a goal in transition as senior Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.) lifted the puck to classmate Brandon Biro (Sherwood Park, Alberta) crossing the blueline and he found sophomore Aarne Talvitie (Espoo, Finland) all alone in front and he used a quick forehand-backhand-forehand move to beat Gopher net-minder Jack LaFontaine for the 1-0 edge at 14:29 of the first period.
* Minnesota evened the score midway through the second period as Tyler Nanne somehow got his stick on a puck that was deflected by a Nitany Lion defender and it slipped under the blocker of PSU senior goaltender Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) for the 1-1 score at 11:21 of the middle frame.
* The Nittany Lions regained the lead as Biro feed Sucese from behind the net and he finished inside the near post for the 2-1 advantage at 7:03 of the third period.
* The Gophers came right back just over two minutes later as Ben Meyers threw a half-hearted shot on goal that deflected off of Jones’ stick and in for the 2-2 score at 9:04 of the final stanza.
* Minnesota then took their first lead of the game as Bryce Brodzinski punched in a rebound for the 3-2 score at 12:01 of the final frame.
* Penn State wouldn’t go away and it was Biro securing the equalizer as he fought through two Gopher defenders to deposit his own rebound past LaFontaine for the 3-3 score at 14:37 of the third period.
* Penn State pushed late in regulation and in the initial overtime period, but couldn’t secure the victory as the game officially ended in a 3-3 tie.
* With time winding down in the 3-on-3 portion of tonight’s festivities, junior Evan Barratt (Bristol, Pa.) dished to classmate Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis.) and he ripped a shot on net from the slot that bounced around in the crease before Limoges jammed it into the back of the net to secure the extra point with just 24 seconds remaining in the frame.
Jones runs his record to 17-9-3 on the year following a 22-save performance while LaFontaine stopped a career-high 54 shots and now stands at 7-6-5 this season.
Q: We’ve seen this kind of game before, but is that the best that you played?
A: I think so I think we thought we played well on both sides of the puck and had a lot of chances. So, I think it was probably one of our more consistent games.
Q: How do you balance shot total was not necessarily indicative of the chances you had, but your ability to make the most of the ones that you did?
A: Sometimes I really thought early on that we could have added much. After the first period, I thought we played well but at the same time a little disappointed that it was only one [goal] and nothing more, but that’s hockey. You have to give Minnesota a lot of credit for playing a great game and hanging in it. I think it was it was just two really good hockey teams. It was a great game.
Q: Is that the most complete performance by the Biro line? Specifically, that maybe you’ve had in a while here.
A: Well yeah because there’s been some injuries that they haven’t been together as much as you might think because of battling injuries. So, I think just to get them back is a big for our team but I thought they played very well on both sides of the puck.
Q: When Aarne [Talvitie] is playing like that, what does that do for the team?
A: It makes us a lot better team I’ll tell you. He’s just been coming and coming and coming. If there is one guy that’s been snakebite on our team, it’s been Aarne. Whether it’s being alone in the slot or breaking a stick or hitting posts or just a goalie, he’s played a lot better than I think his statistics offensively will show. However, I do think that he’s also getting back to skating, as you saw tonight I think that was probably as close to what he was prior to the injury.
* Penn State dominated in the shot column with a 57-25 advantage marking the first time this season the Nittany Lions have eclipsed 50 shots and the first time since a 6-2 victory against Wisconsin during the Big Ten Quarterfinals last March.
* Neither team was whistled for a penalty marking the first time that has happened in a game since March 19, 2015 against Ohio State, a 3-1 loss for Penn State.
* This marks the first time in 30 all-time meetings that Penn State and Minnesota have skated to a tie with the Gophers maintaining the slim series advantage at 15-14-1. Penn State is now 11-2-1 in the last 14 meetings and 6-0-1 in the last seven at Pegula.
* This also marks the first 3-on-3 overtime victory for Penn State since the new format was introduced prior to the 2017-18 season.
* Limoges and senior Liam Folkes (Scarborough, Ontario) each saw their five-game point streaks come to an end as Limoges’ 3-on-3 overtime goal does not count toward official season statistics.
* Biro ties his career-high with three points on one goal and a pair of assists marking his seventh multi-point effort this season and the 30th of his career as he moves past classmate Denis Smirnov for fourth on the Penn State all-time points list.
* Sucese also collected one goal and two helpers marking his ninth multi-point effort this season and the 32nd of his career while Talvitie turned in one goal and one assist for his sixth multi-point game this season and the 10th of his career.
* Sucese’s 38 points are a new career-high and are tied for the eighth most in a single-season in Penn State history. Sucese is now tied with Limoges for the Big Ten scoring lead with 23 points in conference games.
* Penn State moves to 16-1-2 on the year when scoring first.
The two teams return tomorrow evening to close out the season series with a 6:30 p.m. puck drop. The contest will air live on Big Ten Network and is the last game of the regular-season for Penn State as they are idle next week as the season concludes.