Men's hockey wraps regular season at Minnesota

March 12, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State men's hockey's exciting regular season comes to a close with a pair of games at perennial power No. 15 Minnesota inside Mariucci Arena. Both games are slated for 8 p.m. ET puck drops.

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Both games will be carried by BTN2Go.

Three Nittany Lions hail from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, which includes Eric Scheid (Blaine), Nate Jensen (Shorewood) and Max Gardiner (Deephaven). Gardiner transferred from Minnesota following the 2010-11 season.

The 15th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers (19-12-3, 10-5-3 Big Ten) have split the last three weekends, winning on Friday night and falling on Saturday. Last weekend, the Gophers beat Ohio State 4-2 and dropped a 5-2 game to the Buckeyes the next night.

Minnesota is 12-3-1 at Mariucci Arena this season, winning six of its past seven at home. The Gophers are steered by a powerful offense that scores 3.47 goals per game, which ranks sixth nationally. The offense is fueled by the nation's best power play that scores at a 29.1 percent clip. Thirty-seven of the team's 118 goals have come by way of the man advantage.

Individually, Minnesota's leading point scorer is defenseman Mike Reilly six goals and 32 assists for 38 points. Forwards Kyle Rau and Travis Boyd each have 16 goals.

Other key offensive weapons at the Gophers' disposal are Justin Kloos (11 goals), Sam Warning (11) and Seth Ambroz (10). Taylor Cammarata has supplied 22 assists, which is second best to Mike Reilly's total.

Between the pipes is last year's Big Ten Player of the Year, Adam Wilcox. Wilcox has started 33 of 34 games with a 2.54 GAA and .906 save percentage this season, while shutting out four opponents.

All-Time Series: 1-5-0
PSU at home: 1-3-0
PSU at MINN: 0-2-0
PSU on Neutral Ice: 0-0-0
PSU Streak: 1 win
First Meeting: 1/12/14, MINN 3-2
Last Meeting: 2/21/15, PSU 4-3 (OT)
Last PSU Win: 2/21/15, 4-3 (OT)
Last MINN Win: 2/20/15, MINN 2-1
Last Tie: n/a
Largest PSU Win: 4-3 (OT), 2/21/15
Largest MINN Win: 5-1, 2/28/14

For the second straight home weekend, Penn State hosted the conference's leading team as Michigan came to Hockey Valley. The Nittany Lions handed the Wolverines a pair of victories by scores of 6-4 and 4-3.

On Friday, Penn State ran away early, going up 4-0 en route to the two-goal victory. Eric Scheid had a game-high three points and Nate Jensen added two points.

Scheid, David Goodwin and Casey Bailey scored three goals in a seven-minute span for a 3-0 lead midway through the first. Scott Conway's power-play tally made it 4-0 before Michigan fought back with two power-play goals of its own.

Dylan Richard's eighth of the year regained a three-goal lead before the second period ended. Jensen's power-play goal was sandwiched by two Michigan markers in the third period for the final score line.

Goalie Eamon McAdam made 41 saves and tallied the program's first goaltender assist. PSU went 3-for-4 on the power play, while Michigan was 2-for-7.

Saturday's senior day was a tighter contest, which featured four goals in the opening 20 minutes. Goodwin put PSU up early, but JT Compher had two goals on either side of a Scott Conway 4-on-4 goal as the teams went to the locker room, 2-2.

In the second, Penn State overcame a 12-8 shot deficit with a pair of tallies four minutes apart for a 4-2 lead. Erik Autio scored from the high slot while Tommy Olczyk's eighth of the season was assisted by one of Bailey's two assists. Goodwin finished with four points to match his career high.

Compher completed the hat trick with the extra skater 90 seconds required three PJ Musico saves to secure the win. Musico earned his sixth victory by making 31 stops.

Sophomore forward David Goodwin collected his second Big Ten weekly honor on Tuesday morning as he was named the conference's Second Star of the Week.

Goodwin was tabbed second star for leading the conference with five points during a weekend sweep of rival Michigan. The sophomore tallied two goals and three assists to help keep Penn State's hopes alive of a Big Ten title.

As for Saturday, the lefty forward would only match his career-high, and the team-high, registering four points in a 4-3 win. Goodwin played a hand in every goal, scoring the first, lending the primary assist on the next two goals and earning the secondary assist on Olczyk's eventual game-winner in the second period.

Goodwin's plus-three rating on Saturday moved him to the top of Penn State's chart (plus-18), and in a tie for second in the Big Ten with the league-leader in assists, Mike Reilly of Minnesota. Those two trail only Michigan's Zach Hyman (plus-21).

The Nittany Lions are quickly running out of firsts as a new program. With wins over Michigan, Penn State is assured of its first winning season in overall play as well as in conference action.

Four teams are separated by three points in the chace for the Big Ten title and the No. 1 seed at next week's Big Ten Tournament.

Penn State faces the steepest challenge, not only because they trail Michigan State by three points, but because they play at Minnesota, which boasts one the fourth-best home record in NCAA Division I men's hockey at 12-3-1.

Nevertheless, for Penn State to be Big Ten champion, at least six points and some help will be needed. Namely, if Penn State sweeps, Michigan State and Michigan must split points along the way, with MSU earning no more than three in that scenario and Michigan tallying no more than five.

Penn State has used 43 different offensive line combinations through 34 games, and one line inparticular stood out: David Goodwin-Taylor Holstrom-Casey Bailey. Unfortunately, due to an injury suffered by Holstrom in Saturday's loss at Ohio State, the Nittany Lions had to move on from of the nation's most productive lines.

Winger Tommy Olczyk joined Goodwin and Bailey to form Penn State's most succesful combination last weekend in a sweep of Michigan, totaling four goals, six assists and 10 points with a plus-eight rating.

Goodwin-Holstrom-Bailey combined for 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists) and a plus-47 rating. Currently, the line is 14-10-4 this season.

The threesome were together for 28 of the first 32 contests (only times not together were Oct. 17 at Alaska, Dec. 5-6 at Wisconsin and Dec. 30 vs. Western Michigan), accounting for 93 of Penn State's 277 points (33.6 percent).

Only the Richard-Conway-Scheid line (42 points) had more than nine points this season amongst the forwards. Those two lines were also the only ones to play more than nine games together this season.

Behind a Big Ten-leading 22 goals, junior forward Casey Bailey has regained his scoring form from 2012-13 that saw him tally 14 goals during his freshman campaign. Last season, Bailey tallied nine goals in 32 games.

Entering this week, Bailey is one of 11 players in the country, and the only one in the Big Ten, with 20+ goals. He is four goals behind Union's Daniel Ciampini (26).

Bailey ranks fifth nationally in goals per game (0.65) and tied-for-17th nationally in points per game (1.18)

Bailey is first on the team with 12 multi-point games this season and has 20 in his Penn State career. He has tallied a point in 24 of 34 games this year.

David Goodwin's five-point weekend against Michigan was the continuation of solid play since the flip of the calendar to 2015. Since Jan. 9, the sophomore forward is second on the team behind Casey Bailey (11 goals) with nine tallies, adding 11 assists for 20 points.

Goodwin also has a plus-15 rating in that span, only one plus behind Bailey. Eric Scheid and Bailey have 21 points during the 2015 portion of the season, while Scott Conway has posted 18.

Minnesota and Penn State represent two of the top four home records in NCAA Division I men's hockey. The Gophers have a 12-3-1 mark (.781), which is good for fourth, just behind Penn State's 13-2-2 (.806). One of those two PSU home losses came to the Gophers, a favor Penn State would like to return.

Over the past 14 games, Penn State has received a crucial scoring and assist bump from an unfamiliar place: the defense.

In those last 14 games, the Nittany Lion defense has contributed 10 goals and 23 assists for 33 points, which may not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but that's a 127 percent increase since the 20-game mark. In all, 56 percent of the entire defense's point output for the year has come in the last 14 games.

Sophomore goaltender Eamon McAdam etched his place in Penn State history by providing the first goalie point in Friday's 6-4 win over Michigan. McAdam earned the secondary assist on Nate Jensen's power-play goal.

McAdam made 41 saves, one off his career high, to earn his fifth victory of the season. The sophomore from Perkasie, Pa. made his first start since Jan. 24.

Penn State's second line of Eric Scheid, Dylan Richard and Scott Conway has provided an extra scoring boost to the Nittany Lions.

The trio has now appeared in 18 games this season (10-6-2), tallying 20 goals and 31 assists for 51 points. Each of those numbers are second best on the team.

Forward Eric Scheid missed six games and returned to the ice in impressive fashion, tallying six multi-point games and a pair of two-goal performances to pace the Penn State offense since Jan. 9.

Scheid has tallied a point in 12 of 17 games since his return. Scheid is second on the team with 14 goals. The Nittany Lions went 2-4-0 in during his absence, which puts PSU at 16-8-4 when Scheid is in the lineup.

Penn State takes part in the second Big Ten Tournament next week at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena. The Nittany Lions are assured of wearing a white jersey for its first game, already securing at least the No. 4 seed, with the possibility of holding any of the top four seeds pending the results of this week's games.

Tournament action opens Thursday, March 19, with the semifinals taking place Friday and the final on Saturday at 8 p.m. 

Last Updated March 12, 2015