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Big Ten Tournament: Scheid Comes Up B1G in Home State

Returning to his home state, and playing against his late father's alma mater, Penn State senior forward Eric Scheid scored two goals and added an assist in Penn State's 5-2 victory over Wisconsin to advance to semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament and keep the Nittany Lions' season alive.

Scheid got the scoring started in the first period when he raced behind the Wisconsin defense and caught a puck teammate Luke Juha had flipped into the zone then broke in on Wisconsin goalie Matt Jurusik and scored. Scheid added an assist when he passed the puck back to defenseman Connor Varley and Varley's slap shot from the point deflected off a Wisconsin defenseman into the goal.

The Badgers got back within one goal in the second period, but the Nittany Lions scored twice in 1:35 late in the second period to extend their lead to a commanding 4-1.

Wisconsin would strike back in the third period when Grant Besse put back a rebound goal to cut into the lead, but despite a few quality chances, the Badgers could draw no closer. Scheid capped off the win with an empty-net goal to seal Penn State's spot in tomorrow's first semifinal against Michigan. For Wisconsin, the season ends with an 8-19-8 record.

Notes and Thoughts:

-Scheid deflected post-game--""At the end of the day, it's just a big W. It's a special day for everyone"--but don't underestimate the emotion in this game tonight. Scheid switched his number to 23 before this season to honor his late father Jim, who wore 23 for the Badgers. There's a little something extra special for him to score against the Badgers.

-It's no secret that Penn State is a team that loves to shoot it from anywhere and everywhere on the ice. It doesn't always work, but it paid off big time tonight. Both Penn State's second and third goals were "What were you thinking?"-type low percentage that found the back of the net because they hit a Wisconsin defenseman and deflected past Jurusik for the goal. Honestly, with so many goals in college hockey scored off deflections, it's not a terrible strategy to fire as many pucks as possible and increase the odds of getting that lucky bounce.

-Overall, Wisconsin skated pretty even with Penn State all game, but they had some terrible, baffling breakdowns on the defensive end that cost them numerous quality chances, and led to a couple goals.

-It was a strong game for Minnesota native Grant Besse, who has had a few big games at the XCel Energy Center in the past. He didn't get credit for an assist, but he set up Wisconsin's first goal by eating a hard(and legal, though it was somehow called a penalty) check by David Thompson that took Thompson out of position and sent Wisconsin in on an odd-man rush that Luke Kunin finished off. He also picked up a loose puck in front of the net to score Wisconsin's second goal. Late in the game, he made a great defensive play to break up an easy empty-netter for Penn State, then came down and fired a shot off the cross bar.

For a kid whose drive and motivation was sometimes questioned when he was younger, there's been little doubt that he's given it his all in what has mostly been an unwinnable situation at Wisconsin the past two years.

-Penn State advances to play Michigan tomorrow afternoon in the semifinal. The Wolverines are a tough match-up for Penn State, as evidenced by last weekend's two beatdowns, but the Nittany Lions will have a game under their belt against a cold Michigan team, and if they get a couple bounces like they did tonight, anything could happen.

-The future of Wisconsin, and specifically, Mike Eaves, will be discussed more in-depth in the future. Eaves, for his part, was pretty positive post-game. He cited Wisconsin's improvement throughout the year. It's also worth noting that as bad as this season was for Wisconsin, there was no quit in the Badgers, and that says something. The season ends with just eight wins though, and the talent level was not where a program of Wisconsin's caliber should be.

Fancy Stats:

Shots on goal: PSU:  11- 9- 9-29 UW: 12-12-13-37

Even strength shot attempts: PSU: 23- 12-12-47-43.6%  UW: 25-19-22-66-58.4%

Prime scoring area attempts: PSU: 4-6-7-17  UW: 6-8-7-21

What do the numbers tell us?

Even before the third period when they were trying to catch up while Penn State sat back, Wisconsin was skating with Penn State and had the slight advantage in possession. But Penn State's shoot it from anywhere strategy paid off with a pair of lucky goals off deflections.

Final Scoring

First Period

12:55 Eric Scheid from Luke Juha and Kevin Kerr 1-0 Penn State

Juha tried to flip the puck into the zone on a dump in. Scheid snuck behind the Wisconsin defense, caught the puck out of midair and skated in alone on Jurusik for the goal.

16:55 Connor Varley from Eric Scheid and David Goodwin 2-0 Penn State

Varley took a slap shot from the left point that was deflected at the hash marks by a Wisconsin defenseman and redirected past Jurusik

Second Period

3:49 Luke Kunin from Cameron Hughes and Corbin McGuire 2-1 Penn State

Hughes brought the puck deep down the left wing on an odd-man rush and found Kunin streaking to the back door with a nice pass that Kunin knocked into the net.

13:18 Ricky DeRosa from Luke Juha and Tommy Olcyzk 3-1 Penn State

Juha brought the puck into the zone on the left wing and dropped a pass to DeRosa the blue line. DeRosa took a quick snap shot that deflected off a Badger and past Jurusik

14:53 Tommy Olcyzk from Ricky DeRosa 4-1 Penn State

DeRosa forced a turnover at the Wisconsin blue line and then fed the puck up to Olcyzk on the partial breakaway. Olcyzk's low shot beat Jurusik for the goal.

Third Period

3:26 Grant Besse from Eddie Wittchow 4-2 Penn State

Wittchow took a shot from the point that McAdam stopped, but Besse was there to swoop in on the rebound and deposit it back into the net.

19:16 Eric Scheid from David Goodwin and Luke Juha 5-2 Penn State

Goodwin fed Scheid with a nice pass that sent him in alone on the empty net to close out the game.