Penn State Spoil Gopher’s Big Ten Opener
MINNEAPOLIS – The No. 7 Gopher Hockey program opened its home and Big Ten conference seasons suffering a 3-1 defeat against No. 11 Penn State on Friday evening at 3M Arena at Mariucci.
Junior goaltender Eric Schierhorn matched a program record with his 78th consecutive start between the pipes for the Maroon & Gold, making 26 saves on the day. Junior Ryan Norman tallied his first goal of the season in the third for Minnesota’s lone score of the game, assisted by junior Darian Romanko and sophomore Ryan Zuhlsdorf.
Penn State grabbed the offensive advantage early, holding Minnesota without a shot on goal for the first 11:05 of the game. The two teams traded penalties shortly thereafter as the Gophers came away with nearly 75 seconds of 4-on-3 skating, but they could not break the scoreless tie with the Nittany Lions locking down of defense. As the penalties subsided, the Gophers surrendered a pair of breakaways, and while Schierhorn turned away the first, Penn State capitalized at 15:03 of the first to pull ahead 1-0 as Andrew Sturtz netted his first of the year, unassisted.
The Maroon & Gold broke through on the scoreboard at 8:57 of the third, with Norman sliding in the tenth goal of his career while falling to his back just to the right of Nittany Lions goaltender Peyton Jones. The Gophers pulled Schierhorn for an extra attacker with 1:21 remaining the contest, and a late hooking call against Penn State gave Minnesota a 6-on-4 advantage for the final 26 seconds, but Jones continued to shut the door, finishing the day with 21 stops. The Lions out-shot the Gophers 26-21 for the game and 12-8 in the third period.
The same two teams will wrap up their first Big Ten series on Sunday at 3M Arena at Mariucci, beginning at 3:00 p.m.