So much for Penn State’s struggles coming out of winter break.
The No. 14 Nittany Lion men’s hockey team needed fewer than two minutes to jump in front and put away No. 15 Wisconsin 5-1 Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
Nate Sucese remained red-hot with his first career hat trick as Penn State (12-7-2, 5-4-2-1) extended its unbeaten streak to nine games. The team has netted 46 goals during that span.
It was the first game in 26 days for both teams, but the Nittany Lions were much sharper. They had won their first game of January only once in their previous five seasons.
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Evan Barratt and Chase Berger had the other goals, and Peyton Jones made 25 saves for the win. Jones surrendered only a third-period score by Tarak Miller to prevent the shutout.
Player of the Game
Sucese netted a goal in each period to lead the offense.
Wisconsin was caught on a line change when Derian Hamilton delivered the puck up the middle to Sucese for a breakaway score near the midpoint of the first. He had another break in the second, this time shorthanded, in a 2-on-1 with Brandon Biro, but the sophomore kept the puck, cut to the middle and banked his shot off the crossbar. The goal chased Badger starting goalie Jack Berry, who only stopped 10 of the 14 shots he faced.
Sucese completed his hat trick with 56 seconds left into an empty net to give him 10 goals on the season, matching Andrew Sturtz for the team lead. The sophomore has six goals and one assist in his last three games, and has 11 points in six career games against the Badgers.
The Badgers were whistled for a penalty just 14 seconds into the game, and the Nittany Lions capitalized when Barratt picked his spot in the top corner of the net from the left faceoff dot.
Berger struck quick for the third tally, taking Sturtz’s feed from behind the net for a goal 11 seconds into the second period.
The teams complete the weekend series at 7 p.m Saturday.
This story will be updated. Please check back later for the full story