Gophers Overpower Penn State, 5-1
Facing the country’s top offense, the Gophers knew they’d have their hands full with No. 4/6 Penn State coming to town. Fortunately, the Maroon and Gold were up to the task, stifling the Nittany Lions offense all while adding five goals of their own. No. 7 Minnesota easily took the series opener, 5-1 in the conference matchup.
Crashing the Net
Gopher fans know Rem Pitlick is an electric force on the rush, but the Minnesota coaches have been urging the freshman to head to the front of the net. The advice paid off as Pitlick scored two second period goals off rebounds in front.
“We’ve been harping on Rem to go to the front of the net,” said Don Lucia. “He’s so good off the rush, but [getting to the net] is an area of his game he’s got to continue to improve at...Low and behold, he gets two goals that way tonight.”
Slowing Down PSU
Penn State came into the game leading the nation with 4.41 goals per game and 48 shots on net. Minnesota’s defense kept pace with the Nittany Lions, not allowing many chances, and limiting Penn State to just 16 shots in the first two periods.
“Our d-corp played really well tonight,” said Jake Bischoff. “We were able to deflect everything out of the middle and obviously limit their shots; I’m really happy with how the D were able to play.”
The line of Pitlick, Justin Kloos, and Tyler Sheehy accounted for three of Minnesota’s five goals, but it was a beautiful passing display from Kloos and Sheehy that really ignited the home crowd. The tally gave Minnesota a 4-1 lead with just 4 ticks left in the second period. If you missed it, well, you should change that by watching it here.
“That was a beautiful goal at the end of the period,” said Lucia. “It was three or four passes back and forth and a tap-in at the side. It was a huge goal to go up by three in the last five seconds of the period.”
By The Numbers
6 Blocked shots for the defensive pair of Jake Bischoff and Ryan Lindgren. Minnesota totaled 19 blocked shots as a team, a big reason for their success in their own end.
29 Shots for Penn State. It was the first time all season Penn State had been held below 30 SOG.
137 Career points for Justin Kloos who passed Gopher great Matt Koalska on the team’s all-time scoring list.
3 Jake Bischoff had three assists.
2 Tyler Sheehy had a goal and two helpers.
1 Rem Pitlick scored two goals including the eventual game-winner.
Minnesota will look for the sweep as the two teams faceoff tomorrow at 7:03 from Mariucci.
“We’ll find out how mature they are tomorrow,” said Lucia about his team. “You’ve got to put this one away, cool down, and start our preparation for tomorrow because we know it’ll be a heavy game again tomorrow. They lost, they’re going to have a little bit extra into their game, and we have to make sure we match that when the puck drops.”
It was fun. The Gophers pushed the pace in the first two periods and played solid D in the third. And I can get used to the Gophers putting pucks away during scrambles around the net.