MADISON, Wis. – Junior Evan Bell (Livonia, Mich.) scored the eventual game-winning goal as No. 9 Penn State held off a late Wisconsin push to defeat the Badgers, 3-2, in Big Ten Conference action on Saturday night at the Kohl Center.
The Nittany Lions improve to 19-10-3 on the year and 11-8-3-0 in conference play while Wisconsin drops to 11-18-1 overall and 6-15-1-1 in Big Ten action. The Nittany Lions are now tied with Minnesota atop the Big Ten standings with 36 points with the Gophers visiting Hockey Valley next weekend.
HOW IT HAPPENED
* Penn State opened the scoring as junior Alex Limoges (Winchester, Va.) touched the puck across the goal line as senior Liam Folkes’ (Scarborough, Ontario) initial shot from the slot squeaked through the pads of Badger net-minder Daniel Lebedeff for the 1-0 edge at 7:08 of the first period.
* The Nittany Lions extended the lead midway through the second period as junior Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis.) released a wrister from the point and with a strong screen out front by freshman Kevin Wall (Penfield, N.Y.) the puck slipped through Lebedeff for the 2-0 margin at 10:41 of the middle frame.
* Wisconsin cut the deficit in half late in the second period as Ty Pelton-Byce was behind the PSU defense and after a high turnover at the blue line Dylan Holloway found him and the junior beat Nittany Lion senior goaltender Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) short-side for the 2-1 score with just 10.4 seconds left in the stanza.
* Penn State regained the two-goal lead early in the third period as Bell tapped in a loose puck that was sitting in the crease after sophomore Aarne Talvitie’s (Espoo, Finland) initial chance was turned aside by Lebedeff for the 3-1 margin at 4:35 of the final frame.
* With the goalie pulled, the Badgers cut the deficit to a single goal with 60 second remaining as Dylan Holloway redirected a point shot from K’Andre Miller past Jones for the 3-2 score.
Jones moves to 17-9-2 with the victory after stopping 27 shots while Lebedeff falls to 9-14-0 following a 33-save performance.
* Penn State held the slim 36-29 edge in shots on goal while going 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and 0-for-2 with the man-advantage.
* The Nittany Lions conclude their regular-season road schedule with a 9-5-1 record, the best mark in the conference and their best-ever single-season road record.
* Both Folkes and Limoges extended their point streaks to five games after their first period points. Following a four-point weekend, Limoges now has 20 points in just 15 career games against the Badgers. Folkes has 21 points in 17 games against Wisconsin.
* With his second period goal, Hults extends his point-streak to four games and sets a new career-high with 29 points on the season just a single-point shy of the Penn State single-season record for points by a defenseman.
* Hults has also now tied the single-season Penn State record for goals by a defenseman with eight on the season.
* Penn State improves 16-1-2 on the year when scoring first and 15-0-2 when leading after two periods.
Penn State returns home next weekend to close out regular season play against Minnesota in a battle for first place in the Big Ten standings.