The Penn State men’s hockey team could not duplicate its performance from two nights earlier, but a weekend split was still acceptable.
No. 7 Minnesota dropped No. 11 Penn State 6-3 Sunday afternoon at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis, a little payback for the Nittany Lions’ 3-1 win Friday.
Brannon McManus’ hat trick, all scored in the third period, led the Golden Gophers (2-2, 1-1 Big Ten), who have never been swept at home in the Big Ten.
The end of the game was marred by a fight with 51 seconds left that produced 26 minutes in penalties and ejections for Penn State’s Brandon Biro and Minnesota’s Ryan Zuhlsdorf.
Player of the Game
Minnesota’s Brannon McManus: The freshman from Newport Beach, Calif., scored the first three goals of his college career in the span of 14:26 of the final period. He buried a pair of wrist-shots in the first eight minutes of the third, then prompted the hats on the ice with a power play score with 3:51 left.
Penn State: Denis Smirnov’s goal in the third interrupted McManus’ scoring run. Andrew Sturtz scored late in the second period and assisted a few minutes earlier on an Alec Marsh tally. Erik Autio picked up a pair of assists in the game.
Minnesota: The Gophers’ other goals came from star freshman Casey Mittelstadt and Brent Gates in the first period and Sam Rossini in the second. Tommy Novak collected three assists.
Peyton Jones made made 26 saves in the loss, while Minnesota’s Eric Schierhorn stopped 23 of Penn State’s 26 shots. The Nittany Lions’ season low for all of last season was 27 shots.
American International at Penn State, 7:05 p.m. Thursday: The Nittany Lions will hoist their 2016-17 Big Ten tournament title banner — the first banner to be raised to the Pegula Ice Arena rafters — in their home opener.