PSU falls step short of Frozen Four

CINCINNATI, Ohio — The historic season for the Penn State men’s ice hockey team reached its end on Sunday in the NCAA Midwest Regional championship game.

The third-seeded and No. 11-ranked Nittany Lions were defeated, 6-3, by the No. 1 team in the nation, Denver University, at U.S. Bank Arena.

The Pioneers improved to 31-7-4 and moved on to the Frozen Four in Chicago to take on Notre Dame on April 6. Penn State’s season came to an end at 25-12-2 overall.

Denver opened the scoring as Jarid Lukosevicius received a pass from behind the net and cut across the crease from right to left finishing with a back-hand effort past the blocker of PSU freshman goaltender Peyton Jones.

The Pioneers extended the lead to 2-0 as Adam Plant weaved through the slot and fired a wrister through traffic.

PSU freshman Nikita Pavlychev cut the deficit in half for the Nittany Lions as he scored the ninth short-handed goal of the season and second in the last two nights after banging home a rebound off senior Ricky DeRosa’s initial shot for a 2-1 score at 15:00.

The Lions tied it early in the middle frame as freshman Denis Smirnov skated through the right slot down to the crease and as he went to center the puck it deflected off a Denver player and past Pioneer net-minder Tanner Jaillet for a 2-2 tie at 2:02 of the period.

Denver recaptured the lead with a power play tally as Henrik Borgstrom set up Troy Terry.

The Pioneers extended the lead after Terry fed Lukosevicius in the left slot for a one-timer. Terry then found Borgstrom who gave the puck right back to him for a tap-in goal at 18:42.

PSU freshman James Gobetz registered his first career goal on a blast from the left point at 12:40 of the third period to make the score 5-3.

But at 17:46, Terry tallied an empty net goal to secure the 6-3 victory.