STATE COLLEGE, PA - Another game, another tough overtime loss that Minnesota has to swallow at the hands of Penn State.
For the second time in as many games and third time this season, the Gophers skated off the ice in overtime in a disappointing defeat. The Nittany Lions (13-3-3, 3-0-0-0 Big Ten) defeated Minnesota 3-2 in Big Ten conference play in the seventh one-goal game the Gophers have played in its last eight.
A pair of turnovers in overtime by Minnesota (8-10-0, 3-2-0-0 Big Ten) defensemen led to Rochester, MN native Vince Pedrie getting the winner with 1:03 remaining in the extra period. It came within 15 feet of where Luke Juha's overtime winner at Pegula Arena last season for the only other victory over the Gophers in Penn State program history.
"Yeah it was great (to get the game-winning goal against Minnesota)," said Pedrie, who played high school hockey at Apple Valley with Gophers A.J. Michaelson and Hudson Fasching.
Pedrie's goal, his fourth of the season, wiped away a two goal comeback and a pair of goals from freshman Brent Gates Jr. The Gophers put up 42 shots on Penn State goaltender Eamon McAdam, becoming the first team to out-shoot the high-powered Nittany Lions offense this season.
"He's a great goaltender," said Vinni Lettieri after a two assist night."We know he's going to be there and he's going to help his team out. Our biggest thing is we just have to get pucks to the net and get our bodies in front of him, try to take away his eyes because those rebounds are going to be there. Then we just have to capitalize on them."
The Penn State goaltender stood tall when the Nittany Lions needed it most in a scoreless first period where the Gophers controlled play against the home team. McAdam stopped all 13 shots on goal by Minnesota. His biggest were a pair of shorthanded breakaways by Hudson Fasching. (McAdam added a third in the third period by stopping Tyler Sheehy.)
PSU junior Zach Saar gave the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead early in the second followed minutes later by Andrew Sturtz splitting the Gophers defense and beating Minnesota goaltender Eric Schierhorn on a breakaway.
Minnesota came back in the third. Gates, focused on getting to the hard areas in front of the net, as has the rest of the team, had his efforts pay off Friday. After being set up by Lettieri behind the net, he cleaned up on a play by Leon Bristedt to tie the game at 2 with 9:48 remaining in regulation.
"It feels good. I've really just been trying to work hard and keep it simple. It happened to pay off this game," he said.
The home team did not fold in what was a big game for Minnesota coming into Penn State, according to Lettieri. Penn State out-shot the Gophers 5-1 in the extra period and were successful in killing 1:45 of a five-on-three power play in the second period. When it ended, the student-less Pegula Arena crowd roared in approval.
"It's just disappointing. I don't think I've ever been a part of we've played five overtime games and there have been zero ties. it's amazing," Lucia said, adding, "All you can do is ask the guys to play hard and hope that they'll execute in the key moment. They've all kind of ended in different fashion so it's not like it's one thing."
With the loss and a 9-2 win by Michigan against Michigan State, Minnesota falls to a tie for second place in the Big Ten standings with the Nittany Lions, who have two games in hand.
Minnesota and Penn State play again Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. ET (2:00 p.m. CT). It's a quick turnaround to learn from the latest dramatic game ending to the Gophers in a season chalk-full of the them game in and game out.
"That's pretty much been the summary of the season so far," said Lettieri on tonight. "It bothers us because we compete so hard in practice and I mean that's one good thing about tonight. We competed our butts off. We worked so hard, backchecked and put sustained good pressure on them. It's just disappointing to see a loss like that.
"For my line we got stuff going but were also down a couple goals. That's frustrating for us. We have to keep getting chances and escalate because this is our second half of our season and we have to take off at some point."
PSU - Zach Saar (hooking) 10:14
MIN - Nick Seeler (boarding) 12:34
PSU - Zach Saar (3) (Ricky DeRosa, Kevin Kerr 2:14 EV)
PSU - Andrew Sturtz (9) (Erik Autio, Alec Marsh 6:59 EV)
MIN - Hudson Fasching (cross-checking) 2:59
PSU - Vince Pedrie (cross-checking) 2:59
MIN - Ryan Collins (hooking) 6:59
PSU - Connor Varley (hooking) 12:34
PSU - Kevin Kerr (12:49)
MIN - Brent Gates Jr. (2) (Vinni Lettieri 1:39 EV)
MIN - Brent Gates Jr. (3) (Leon Bristedt, Vinni Lettieri 10:12 EV)
PSU - Vince Pedrie (4) (Tommy Olczyk, Erik Autio 3:57)
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate