Penn State’s high-powered offense was on full display at the Kohl Center on Friday night, as the visitors bested the previously red-hot Wisconsin Badgers in a 6-3 victory.
David Goodwin netted a pair of goals and Wisconsin just simply couldn’t overcome an early two-goal deficit in dropping a game for the first time in the last six games.
However, a win by Ohio State elsewhere in Big Ten play kept Wisconsin on top of the conference standings with 24 points.
The action inside the Kohl Center was worrisome though, as bad defense and mental mistakes ruled the day in front of a game Jack Berry between the pipes. The Badgers usual Friday night starter stopped 25 of 30 shots faced, and had little to do with five of PSU’s six goals on the night.
Like it has so many times before this season, Wisconsin found itself in a hole early. Despite Wisconsin controlling the offensive zone most of the first period, it was Penn State getting on the scoreboard.
The Nittany Lions opened the scoring on an unfortunate pass in the defensive zone by Matt Ustaski. A bouncing puck was put in front of net and Barry had little chance. It was David Goodwin putting Penn State up 1-0 at the 6:50 mark of the first period.
PSU doubled the lead less than four minutes later as Brandon Biro netted his fifth goal of the game.
It was all Wisconsin after that, as UW peppered Peyton Jones with 14 shots on net in the first period. Jones just simply ate up anything around his net and even the best of Luke Kunin couldn’t get the job done.
That changed quickly in the second period. Just 6:13 in to the period and Seamus Malone cut the PSU lead in half. One minute later it was captain Kunin with his eighth power play goal of the season and 18th overall to tie the game up at 2-2.
However, that goal proved to be a turning point in a strange way for the Badgers. Clearly all the momentum was on UW’s side, but officials decided to review what was an easy goal to call and one that needed no review at all.
Five minutes later and the goal stood, but all momentum was lost for the Badgers.
It allowed Penn State to get back to a two-goal lead rather quickly, as they took advantage of some mistakes on defense by the Badgers. PSU’s Dennis Smirnov made it 3-2 less than a minute after the game was tied up, while Goodwin netted his second goal of the game just over five minutes later.
The second intermission did little to change momentum, as Penn State came out and made it a 5-2 game just 56 seconds in to the third period. Adding insult to injury, Trevor Hamilton put home the goal as the Badgers were actually on the power play.
Wisconsin couldn’t find a quick answer and spent most of the rest of the third period unable to muster much offensively — putting up just nine shots on goal.
Only a late Jake Linhart goal gave a glimmer of hope, but that was quickly silenced by an empty-net goal by Penn State at the 18:35 mark of the final period.
These two teams will meet tomorrow night at 7pm CT, with the game on the Wisconsin Channel once again. Streaming can be viewed at BTN2Go.