Minnesota splits series with Penn State

The Gophers came from behind in both games but couldn’t finish Saturday.

Gophers forward Sam Warning skates against Wisconsin on Nov. 30, 2013, at Mariucci Arena.

Daily File Photo, Chelsea Gortmaker

Gophers forward Sam Warning skates against Wisconsin on Nov. 30, 2013, at Mariucci Arena.

Ben Gotz

The Gophers’ series with Penn State featured two games, two empty nets in the final minute of the third period and one overtime.

Both games over the weekend came down to the wire with the Gophers closing out a 2-1 victory on Friday and then losing 4-3 to the Nittany Lions in overtime on Saturday.

The Gophers’ loss on Saturday ended their seven-game unbeaten streak, but the three points the team earned were enough to keep them tied for first place in the Big Ten.

“I thought that it was kind of our luck,” head coach Don Lucia told reporters on Saturday. “They scored two power-play goals on broken sticks. It’s going to happen some nights. I thought the guys played their [rears] off down the stretch. … But, you know, it wasn’t to be.”

With junior goaltender Adam Wilcox on the bench, senior forward Sam Warning scored to tie the game at 3-3 with 40 seconds remaining in the third period.

But in overtime, sophomore defenseman Michael Brodzinski went to the box for elbowing, and the Nittany Lions won the game on a power-play goal soon after.

“You’re disappointed at the overtime,” Lucia told reporters after the game. “Just don’t put ourselves in the position to take a penalty like that. [We] just can’t do that — it’s self-inflicted.”

The Gophers’ comeback was for naught after the team battled back from a 2-0 deficit at the end of the first period.

Penn State’s defense kept the Gophers from creating chances most of the night, but senior forward Travis Boyd still managed to score two power-play goals in the second period to draw the Gophers within one.

The Penn State defense held again for most of the third period, and the Gophers tried to rally before Warning scored with a man advantage.

On Friday night, Penn State pulled their goaltender in favor of an extra skater, but they still managed to close out the game before the Nittany Lions scored.

It was another comeback for the Gophers, except this time, they were able to take the lead after trailing during the first intermission.

A power-play goal from sophomore forward Justin Kloos gave the Gophers the lead in the second period, but the play of the team’s fourth line put Minnesota back in the game.

Freshman defenseman Jack Glover played on the line’s right wing over the weekend, and with junior forward A.J. Michaelson and senior forward Christian Isackson, the bottom line put up big minutes.

Lucia told reporters after the game Glover was moved up to forward to see some playing time, and the freshman responded.

“It’s a little different look having a defenseman play with you, but he’s steady down low, protecting the puck, and you know he’s going to have a good defensive game, not rushing up too much,” Isackson told reporters on Friday. “That’s a good piece for our line.”

The line evened the score in the second period, as Glover got the puck to sophomore defenseman Jake Bischoff. Isackson deflected Bischoff’s shot past Penn State goaltender P.J. Musico.

The line helped the Gophers exit the weekend with three points, but after going to overtime on Saturday, Boyd wanted more.

 “We had a chance to get points and a chance to win a game, and we didn’t,” Boyd told reporters after the game. “And that’s been happening too much this year.”