Men’s ice hockey returned to Pegula with a bang in 2018. After a sizable break for the holidays, the team came out full-force this past weekend and took down the Wisconsin Badgers in both Friday and Saturday’s games.
On Friday, it was sophomore Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.) who helped solidify the team’s 5-1 win by putting up a hat-trick. Sucese put up both goals in both the first and second periods to give Penn State a 4-0 lead over the Badgers at the time, and then the sophomore knocked in one more with just under a minute to go in the third period.
Prior to Sucese’s goals, however, freshman Evan Barratt (Bristol, Pa.) got things going by scoring the first goal of the night thanks to a pass from classmate Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis.) which Barratt wristed into the net.
After rounding out the first period with Sucese’s goal, the team saw Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) take a pass from Andrew Sturtz (Buffalo, N.Y.) and slide the puck behind the Badger’s keeper to propel Penn State to a 3-0 lead.
Sucese’s second goal of the night put the Lions ahead 4-0 heading into intermission.
After a quiet first half of the third period, Wisconsin managed to sneak one past Blue and White keeper Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) and get a sole point on the board.
Sucese finished off the game and completed a hat trick at the 19-minute mark to cap off a successful team return to the ice in 2018.
Jones recorded 25 saves for the Lions, who logged 32 shots on the Badgers.
Saturday evening’s game presented a bit more of a challenge for the Lions, who were tied 3-3 at the end of regulation. It was only after a heated shootout that the Lions were declared the winners thanks to yet another clutch Sucese goal.
Sophomore Liam Folkes (Scarborough, Ontario) got things going for the night by scoring the first goal at the 13-minute mark of the first period. Folkes was fed by Brandon Biro (Sherwood Park, Alberta) and then slammed home a goal-worthy shot.
Wisconsin quickly countered and put the tally at 1-1 just before the end of the first.
Freshman Sam Sternschein (Syosset, N.Y.) used his physical prowess to best the Wisconsin defenders and score the lone point of the second period to send the Lions to the locker room up 2-1.
Berger came up clutch yet again by opening up the third period with a goal that was once again assisted by Sturtz.
Wisconsin had no plans to go quietly, however, and quickly logged two goals of their own, pushing the tied teams into overtime.
After a Penn State goal was recalled in the early moments of overtime due to physical contact, the two teams went to a shootout.
Sucese locked in the extra point for the Lions thanks to his perfect shot, granting the Lions a victory at home to start off the new year.
Jones logged 26 saves for the Lions, who collected 38 shots against Wisconsin.
The Blue and White are already looking ahead to this coming weekend, when they will take on No. 8 Ohio State at Pegula Ice Arena this Friday and Saturday. Come on out and cheer for your Lions at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday!