STATE COLLEGE, PA. – Eamon McAdam threw everything he had at the No. 1 Gophers except a glove to stop Ben Marshall late. That was the difference Sunday night in Minnesota’s first game against the Big Ten’s newest hockey member.
The Gophers skated away with a 3-2 victory over Penn State in the opener of a Big Ten series at Pegula Ice Arena.
Marshall’s laser from the right point with 4:01 remaining in the third period evaded a wall of Nittany Lions players and McAdam before kicking off the post and in. That put the Gophers up for good, and they hung on for the victory over the second-year varsity program.
“That mentality of getting pucks to the net,” Marshall said of the key to the game-winner. “You got to give a lot of credit to their goalie; he faced a lot of shots tonight, but when you face that many, we get that mentality that one has to go in.
“There was a lot of traffic in front of the net, hard to see, and I’m lucky it got through.”
The Nittany Lions (4-11-1, 0-3 Big Ten) made the third period matter after the Gophers (14-2-3, 4-0-1) took a 2-1 lead into the final 20 minutes. David Glen’s deflection off a Nate Jensen wrister skipped past Gophers goalie Adam Wilcox and tied the score 3:45 into the third.
Afterward, Marshall agreed with Gophers coach Don Lucia that the message was brief and straightforward following the equalizer: Keep firing pucks on net, and get another one.
They did, as McAdam, who made 42 saves, admitted that he never saw the last one that got by him.
“He was outstanding, he gave us a chance,” Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said of McAdam. “We didn’t get it done for him, but by far his best outing of the year.”
Brady Skjei scored in the first period and Mike Reilly in the second, while Wilcox, who made 28 saves, was beaten by Taylor Holstrom and Glen. The Gophers outshot Penn State 45-30.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Lucia said. “Tip your hat to their goaltender; he played very well. We had a lot of good looks, and good rebound opportunities, but he was there to make the save most every time.
“We couldn’t get enough of a separation where they were going to make some plays, which they did, to put them back in the game. [The game-winner] was a heck of a shot.”