From staff reports
MINNEAPOLIS-Sophomore forward Curtis Loik scored and junior PJ Musico (Orange, Calif.) made 35 saves as the Nittany Lions took Minnesota to the third period tied, but the Penn State men's hockey team fell to the second-ranked Gophers, 2-1, at Mariucci Arena Saturday night.
After the Gophers opened the scoring in the first period, Loik's fifth of the season and third point (2g, 1a) this year against Minnesota tied the game with 2:46 left in the second period. The Gophers then scored the game-winning goal at 13:15 of the final frame. An Orange, Calif., native, Musico, who started for the first time since Feb. 24, 2013, starred for the Nittany Lions and kept the high-powered Gopher offense at bay with several highlight-reel saves.
Minnesota (23-4-5, 12-2-2-0 Big Ten) outshot the Nittany Lions (6-22-2, 2-13-1-0 Big Ten) by a 37-27 margin. Penn State went 0-for-1 on the power play, while Minnesota finished 0-for-2 with the man advantage. Gopher netminder Michael Shibrowski turned aside 26 shots.
In the first period, Travis Boyd gave the Gophers a 1-0 lead with 7:23 remaining in the frame. Musico, who made 12 saves in the period, stopped Boyd's first attempt with a sprawling left-pad save, but the forward elevated the rebound for the goal.
Loik tied the game at 17:14 of the second period. Sophomore defenseman Connor Varley wheeled around the Penn State net before sending a pass off the boards to Loik entering the offensive zone. The forward skated behind the Gopher defense and wristed a shot from the left circle past Shibrowski on the glove side.
In the third period, Tom Serratore scored with 6:45 remaining. After Boyd's attempt was blocked by the Penn State defense, Serratore fired a turnaround slap shot for the winning tally.
The Nittany Lions will return to action next weekend when they host sixth-ranked Wisconsin March 7-8.