STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – It took overtime to do it, but No. 5 Wisconsin defeated Penn State, 3-2, to earn a weekend sweep in the Badgers’ first ever trip to Pegula Ice Arena.
Like the night before, Nic Kerdiles and Mark Zengerle proved to be a deadly duo.
With less than a minute to play in the overtime and a shootout looming, Joe Faust fed a long pass to Kerdiles, who proceeded to execute a perfect give-and-go with Zengerle. It left Penn State goaltender Matt Skoff with a minimal chance of making a save, as Zengerle buried it for his ninth goal of the season and the game-winner.
Both finished with a goal and an assist each.
Eaves also complimented the chemistry between Kerdiles and Zengerle, but that didn’t stop him from praising his netminder, Joel Rumpel, who stopped 41 of the Nittany Lions’ 43 shots. Without the junior in between the pipes, the Badgers wouldn’t have won, Eaves said.
The Badgers struck first at 9:01 of the opening period when Keegan Meuer scored his third goal of the season after receiving a pass from Eddie Wittchow.
The Nittany Lions answered just over a minute later when Casey Bailey tied the game with his ninth goal of year at 10:07 of the first period on a power play.
Even with less than three minutes left in the second stanza, both teams looked ready to head into the second intermission knotted up, but Kerdiles and Zengerle connected for the first time while short-handed. Kerdiles found himself on a breakaway after getting a pass from Zengerle and maneuvered the puck between his legs to his backhand and roofed it.
“Those are things Nic does in practice that he has the confidence to try,” Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said.
Once again, the Nittany Lions needed a late goal to put themselves back in the game. At 17:16 of the third period, Kenny Brooks cleverly took the puck from behind the net and hoped for a deflection. That is exactly what he got as it hit a Badgers skate and snuck its way past Rumpel.
However, it still was not enough for the Nittany Lions in the end.
Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said he was pleased with his squad’s effort and saw progress amidst the disappointment of losing in the final moments.
“We are proud of the stages that we’ve gone through and come through; this is just another one,” Gadowsky said of his second-year program. “We worked really hard for 60 minutes and 40 seconds.”