Penn State hockey falls to No. 17 Wisconsin, 7-1, in Big Ten opener
MADISON, Wis. – The Nittany Lion men’s hockey team opened Big Ten play with a 7-1 setback against the 17th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers at the Kohl Center Friday evening.
Junior forward Tommy Olczyk, who totaled four points in 2012-13, collected his fifth point of the 2013-14 campaign with a first-period goal. Sophomore netminder Matthew Skoff started in net and allowed five goals on 38 shots faced, while P.J. Musico made three stops in his first appearance of the season.
The Badgers out shot the Nittany Lions by a 43-28 margin. Penn State went 0-for-3 with the man advantage, while Wisconsin finished 0-for-4 on the power play. Badger netminder Joel Rumpel turned aside 27 shots for the victory.
In the first period, Wisconsin jumped out to a two-goal lead, but Olczyk’s third marker of the season made it a 2-1 affair at the intermission. Grant Besse skated the Badgers to a 1-0 advantage at 2:54 of the frame after Sean Little collected a Penn State turnover at the Nittany Lion offensive blue line and found Besse during the ensuing two-on-one rush.
Frankie Simonelli doubled the advantage one minute later. The Badger defenseman took a pass from Tyler Barnes and scored on a high shot through traffic. Morgan Zulinick also collected an assist on the play.
With 8:13 left in the opening frame, Olczyk put the Nittany Lions on the scoreboard. Defenseman Nate Jensen dumped the puck behind the Badger cage, where freshman Ricky DeRosa found Olczyk alone in the slot for a one-timer that beat Rumpel high to the glove side.
The Badgers added a pair of goals in the second stanza as they took a 4-1 lead. With 14:08 left, Wisconsin capitalized on a Penn State defensive-zone turnover to re-take the two-goal advantage. Nic Kerdiles broke up a Nittany Lion clearing attempt before passing to Michael Mersch, who tallied on a breakaway.
At 9:46 of the frame, Barnes knocked in a Joseph LaBate rebound for the three-goal lead. Mark Zengerle also collected an assist on the play.
Wisconsin made it 5-1 with 7:23 left in the third period. From the left circle, LaBate sent a cross-crease pass to Kerdiles, who was all alone in front of the net, for the first of three Badger goals in the frame.
With 5:27 left in the game, LaBate took Kevin Schulze’s pass in the left circle and wristed a low shot to make it 6-1, while Brad Navin’s tally with 37 seconds left in the game accounted for the 7-1 final.