No. 6 Penn State men’s hockey (6-0-1, 0-0-0 Big Ten) finally lost a game on Saturday night when Arizona State came away from Pegula Ice Arena with a 4-3 overtime victory.
Evan Barratt and Nate Sucese tallied goals in the third period to come back from a 3-1 deficit through two periods. Sun Devil forward Johnny Walker — the NCAA’s leading goal scorer — buried his tenth goal of the season 69 seconds into overtime to help Arizona State pick up its first-ever victory over the Nittany Lions.
Peyton Jones made 21 saves in the loss.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions got off to a very sloppy and lethargic start. Poor passing led to multiple defensive zone turnovers by Penn State and a handful of quality scoring chances for the Sun Devils.
It didn’t take long for Arizona State to take advantage, as the Sun Devils struck first just over three minutes into the game.
The Nittany Lions appeared to find their skating legs around the halfway mark of the opening stanza. They began winning the majority of the races to loose pucks, and their passing noticeably improved.
Penn State would carry this improved play into the beginning of the second period. The team upped its speed and intensified its forecheck, leading Arizona State’s Anthony Croston to take a tripping minor just over three minutes into the period.
Denis Smirnov would fire home his second goal of the season on the ensuing power play to tie the game at one.
Penn State would continue to carry the majority of play, but Arizona State would prove to be the more opportunistic side. The Sun Devils generated two clear cut odd man rushes, and were able to cash in on both of them to go into the second intermission with a 3-1 lead.
Just as they did on Friday night, the Nittany Lions got off to a flying start the third period. Nate Sucese had a shot ring off the crossbar and post less than two minutes into the period that had Pegula Ice Arena fooled, but it stayed out.
Evan Barratt then scored an absolute beauty after being fed by fellow linemates Liam Folkes and Alex Limoges to get Penn State back to within one. He pulled off a play known as the “Michigan move” after picking the puck up on his stick and shoveling it over the goalie’s shoulder and into the top corner of the net like a lacrosse ball.
The Nittany Lions would ride the momentum from that goal and absolutely smother Arizona State for the first ten minutes of the period. Penn State fired ten shots on goal before the Sun Devils finally tested Peyton Jones for the first time in the period.
Penn State would continue its furious rally throughout the period, constantly barraging Arizona State goalie Joey Daccord’s net. Shot after shot, and wave after wave of pressure was repelled by Daccord and the Sun Devil defense. However, Nate Sucese finally broke through with only 2:11 left in the third period to tie the game and force overtime.
In overtime, Arizona State’s Johnny Walker would score on a breakaway to bring Penn State’s perfect start to the season to an end. His NCAA-leading tenth goal of the season buried the Nittany Lions and gave Arizona State its first victory over Penn State in program history.
Player Of The Game
Evan Barratt | Sophomore | Center
Barratt scored a beautiful goal in the third period to pull the Nittany Lions back to within one. The Limoges-Barratt-Folkes line continued to cause all sorts of headaches for opposing defenses. With their combination of skill, speed, and tenacity they’re certainly a very difficult trio to slow down.
Penn State will be back in action at 7 p.m. Friday against Robert Morris. The game will close out Penn State’s eight-game homestand to start the season.
Please choose an option below.