The monkey is off the back.
Penn State finally beat Notre Dame during a Big Ten game, and it wasn't close on the ice or on the scoreboard.
The Fighting Irish started off the evening’s scoring just over three minutes into the game. Cal Burke skated down the near side boards and sent a laser of a pass towards the net where Cam Morrison was waiting to tap the puck past Peyton Jones. Notre Dame went on the power play just 30 seconds later, but Alex Limoges would not let the Irish take control of the game. After a pass from Evan Barratt bounced through a Notre Dame defenseman, Limoges was got a one-on-one chance against Cale Morris and flashed a beautiful backhand-to-forehand move.
Penn State killed off the remainder of the power play and kept up the pressure. Limoges got his second of the game at 12:23 after a rebound came right to him in front of a wide-open net. The Nittany Lions kept outworking the Irish and would be rewarded with their third goal with four minutes to go in the period. Kevin Kerr took a shot from the right face-off circle and the puck bounced off a Notre Dame defenseman and into the net. The period ended with Penn State ahead 3-1.
Cam Morrison (6)
Alex Limoges (9)
Alex Limoges (10)
Kevin Kerr (1)
Sam Sternschein (6)
Alec Marsh (2)
Chase Berger (5)
Nikita Pavlychev (10)
Alec Marsh (3)
Evan Barratt (13)
If Penn State’s first period was good, it’s second period was great. The offense was able to maintain the forechecking pressure it established in the first and it lead to the fourth goal on the power play just five minutes into the period. Chase Berger was given time near the face off dot and fed a pass to the far post where Sam Sternschein was waiting for the tap in goal. Penn State piled on their fifth goal against Cale Morris with seven minutes to go in the period after Brandon Biro skated passed a Notre Dame defender and fed Alec Marsh for another far post tap in goal. Jeff Jackson had seen enough and pulled Morris for Dylan St. Cyr. The goalie change was not enough to spark a Notre Dame comeback. Chase Berger would get his fifth of the year on power play at 16:38. Berger’s quick wrist shot beat St. Cyr right over his near shoulder. The period ended with Penn State holding a comfortable 6-1 lead.
Would Penn State let off the gas in the third period? In a word, no. Nikita Pavlychev completed the ice tuddy with a great move on the power play.
It's a made up word.
Was seven goals enough? Definitely not. Alec Marsh got his second goal of the night and Penn State’s eighth on the same type of play he scored his first, this time with the pass from Chase Berger. If you thought that Guy Gadowsky’s Penn State Nittany Lions would mail it in for the last few minutes of the game to not embarrass Notre Dame any more, you clearly haven’t been following along. Evan Barratt scored Penn State’s ninth goal of the game to set a single game goals scored record for a Big Ten Conference game. The final score was not close. The play on the ice was even less close.
- This was as dominant a win against as good a team that Penn State has ever had. Notre Dame was a few bounces away from winning last year's national championship, and Penn State showed that when it is playing its best hockey, it can beat any team in the country.
- Wall (noun): a continuous vertical brick or stone structure that encloses or divides an area of land (or ice). See Peyton Jones. After last night's struggle in net, Penn State needed an uneventful night from its goalie, and Jones delivered just that. He controlled the game and never gave Notre Dame a chance to claw back into the game.
- Penn State's team strength was always going to be its offense, but tonight the balance of scoring was most impressive. Seven different players scored and 13 were on the score sheet. Oh and Evan Barratt? He had four points and is back to leading the nation in total points with 29.
- Chase Berger scored his 100th point as a Penn State hockey player tonight. Guy Gadowsky sang his praises post game and Berger deserved every word of it. He's been a key playing on the ice, but more importantly the embodiment of Penn State Hockey off the ice. His parents were in Pegula to see it happen too. You love to see it.
- Penn State has played some of its best hockey against Notre Dame, but hasn't been able to beat them since they joined the Big Ten. Tonight, that changed. All of the pieces needed for a win finally came together. The win comes at a good point in the season too. After splits with Michigan and Wisconsin, Penn State really needed points out of this weekend to not fall too far behind in the Big Ten standings. The team got the split, but more importantly, it got a boost that should carry them past Princeton next weekend and into the winter break riding high.