Monday, February 20, 2017

Game Story: Minnesota edges Penn State in wild finish to sweep series (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

2/18/2017 Game Story

Minnesota 4
Penn State 3

(Author note: This was one of the craziest regular season games I've covered.)

STATE COLLEGE, PA. — Exactly 12 minutes removed from the sellout crowd at Pegula Arena screaming at the sight of a successful penalty shot, 6,140 fans and 23 players clad in white and blue sweaters left Happy Valley on Saturday night with nothing resembling grins on their faces.

They were stunned, with the air let out of the building. They were wallowing in Minnesota pulling a rabbit out of its hat and pulling the cruel trick of taking away what appeared to be a certain win.

For the fourth time 15 days, the Gophers found a way to win to defeat Penn State in Big Ten Conference play.

Minnesota and Penn State combined for three goals in the final 2:11. The last, by Justin Kloos, tied the score at 3 with 3.5 seconds remaining in the third period to send the game into overtime. In the extra period, linemate Rem Pitlick scored his first career overtime winner with 1:33 remaining to give the Gophers a 4-3 victory and a sweep of the weekend series.

“It was a crazy game. A finish like that, I give our guys a lot of credit for keep believing,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said.

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