The Penn State Nittany Lions (14-7-4, 6-2-1-0 Big Ten) won the first of a two-game home series against the Wisconsin Badgers (2-17-4, 0-7-2-2 Big Ten) with a final score of 5-2, extending their unbeaten streak to seven games.
The Nittany Lions drew first blood; Tommy Olczyk fired the puck past Badgers’ goaltender Joel Rumpel less than six minutes into the first period. Connor Varley picked up the first of his two assists on the play.
Wisconsin quickly retaliated as freshman forward Cameron Hughes slipped two quick goals past Penn State netminder PJ Musico. Hughes was assisted by Ryan Wagner and Grant Besse at the 9:41 mark and Morgan Zulinick at the 3:01 mark.
Despite their rocky start, the Lions dominated in the second and third periods, picking apart the Badgers’ holey defense to score four unanswered goals. Forward Eric Scheid took less than 1:30 to net the puck behind Rumpel and tie the game.
With five minutes remaining in the second, David Goodwin, a member of the top line that head coach Guy Gadowsky says is “the best [he’s] ever coached” scored his twelfth goal of the season, giving Penn State its first lead since the opening minutes.
The first ten minutes of the third period were slow, but Penn State picked up the pace when winger Casey Bailey fired a laser past Rumpel, netting his nineteenth goal of the season.
Senior Taylor Holstrom finalized the score at 5-2, grabbing the empty netter with just nine seconds remaining.
Musico had 35 saves against the Badgers in the winning effort; Rumpel had 32 for the night.
The win moved the Nittany Lions into the outright second place standing in the conference, and gives the team a chance to take the coveted first place spot from Michigan.
Penn State faces off against Wisconsin again on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. in Happy Valley. The game will air on MyTV 22 in Pittsburgh, WJAC-6 in Johnstown-Altoona-State College, and CW15 in Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, and will also be available to stream on BTN2GO.
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