MINNEAPOLIS – Don’t piss off Minnesota Gophers co-captain Sammy Walker. You wouldn’t love him when he is angry. Well, if you’re not a Gophers fan.
After hitting hard in the second half of a game in which his team lost, Walker drew a goal and on Saturday recorded the Gophers’ 4-2 victory over Penn State.
“Sammy was nailed there and I didn’t see it, but I stood up for him just by following what the guys told me on the bench,” said Gophers coach Bob Motzko, who took the punishment for claiming that Nittani Lev should be directed towards the box for impact. “After that, we seemed to zip up our shorts and off we went.”
After failing to open the series, the Gophers bounced back and parted ways with the Nittany Lions, improving to 5-1-0 in their games on Saturday night.
Mason Nevers and his team struck from a point in a power play at the end of the third period in favor of the winner. Matthew Nees also scored for the Gophers (8-6-0 overall, 5-3-0 Big Ten), who secured 35 saves from Jack La Fontaine in their win.
“We just had more detail in our game, less fluidity when we picked up clubs in front, came back on a backcheck and picked up our boyfriend. I think it was the biggest thing ever, ”said Walker, who now shares the team lead with Niss with seven goals.
Jimmy Dowd Jr. and Kevin Wall scored goals for the Nittany Lions (7-6-0, 1-5-0) with 25 saves from Oscar Autio.
“Both powerplay games were pretty darn good tonight and in a draw, how many (penalties) did we score in the third or should have killed, including 5-on-3,” said Lyons coach Guy Gadowski. “I thought Oscar was fighting hard and I thought he did a great job, but you give Minnesota 5-for-3, it’s hard.”
The first scoreless period was filled with offense, although none of the pucks crossed the goal line. The Lions, known for their penchant for shooting from anywhere and everywhere, played a role early on, testing La Fontaine with 14 shots in shot. Each team had a power play that did not count.
The Lions finally overcame the congestion at the start of their second leg when Daoud scored his first goal of the season. Dowd played hockey in New Jersey for most of his youth, but lived in Minnesota as a child, when his father was the backup captain of the Minnesota Wild in the early days of the franchise.
Walker responded just after the middle of the game, flying down the right flank and aiming a guide rocket into the upper left corner of the Lions’ net.
After the Knies scored a power play in the third to give the Gophers their first lead, the Lions responded only to see Nevers win the game with two visitors in the box.
“Anywhere in the back of the network will work. Put another dot on the board, one way or another, said Nevers. “You know this is an important point. If they do get this (penalty), it will be a big jump, so we had to kind of do our job and score a goal, and we did it. ”
Next weekend, the Gophers will have an away streak in North Dakota.