Penn State Hockey

Penn State hockey can’t hold lead, falls to Wisconsin

The Penn State men’s hockey team had not lost all season when taking a lead into the third period — until Friday.

Wisconsin had won just once in 15 tries when trailing after two periods — until Friday.

The No. 18 Badgers scored three goals in the final 10 minutes to earn a 4-2 victory over the No. 14 Nittany Lions at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.

Liam Folkes and Denis Smirnov had the goals for Penn State (13-11-3, 6-8-3-2 Big Ten), which extended its losing skid for four games. The Lions also had been 12-0-2 this season with a lead at the second intermission.

Penn State goalie Peyton Jones made 27 saves.

Seamus Malone scored early for Wisconsin, while Josh Ess, Will Johnson and Trent Frederic took care of the late goals.

With the Lions holding a 2-1 lead since late in the first, Wisconsin battled back with Ess beating Jones off a pretty cross-ice feed from Ryan Wagner on an odd-man rush just past the midpoint of the third. Johnson then put the Badgers ahead with a redirection of a Malone blast with 3:51 left.

Folkes nearly tied the game with just over a minute left, but his shot hit the post, and seconds later Frederic hit an empty net to lock up the win, just the third against Penn State in the last 17 meetings.

Player of the game

After allowing the first-period goals, Wisconsin goalie Jack Berry slammed the door on the Nittany Lions, finishing with 35 saves. He got some help with a couple Lion attempts ringing the post, but he also had a spectacular sprawling save on his back to deny James Robinson on the doorstep in the second period.

Scoring highlights

Folkes put the Nittany Lions ahead just 5:07 into the game, knocking home a rebound in a flurry of attempts around the Badger net. Malone tied it with a rebound score of his own.

Smirnov made it a 2-1 lead with 1:10 left in the first on a power play. It ended a scoring slump for the sophomore, who had registered just one goal and one assist in the previous six games. The score also was the 100th goal netted this season by the Nittany Lions — the first Division I team to hit the century mark this year.

Milestones

Andrew Sturtz became the 14th player in program history to reach 100 games played when he hit the ice Friday. The junior has missed just four games in his career.

Erik Autio assisted on Smirnov’s goal, the 45th of his career to match Luke Juha’s program reocrd for assists by a defenseman.

Up next

The teams complete the two-game series at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Kohl Center.

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