The Gophers erased a two-goal deficit Saturday night to tie their game against Penn State 3-3, seeking to sweep the Nittany Lions and remain alone atop the Big Ten.
Then, junior forward Taylor Cammarata scored a goal to give Minnesota the lead in the third, but the celebration was cut short.
Penn State challenged that Cammarata was offsides before scoring, and after a review, the goal was waived off. The Nittany Lions took the lead back nine minutes later to win 5-3 on Saturday, splitting the series after the Gophers won 4-1 on Friday.
“[It’s] really frustrating. We’d been playing pretty well, and then we get offsides by a foot,” junior forward Justin Kloos said Saturday. “Then they score. … That’s just the game of hockey, so we’ve got to live with it.”
Minnesota switched up its top-three forward lines in the series after taking last in the North Star College Cup the weekend before.
Cammarata moved to the first line, while redshirt junior Connor Reilly moved to the second and sophomore forward Leon Bristedt was put on the third.
“If you look at the big picture, you’ve got to get some other guys going,” head coach Don Lucia said Friday. “[Breaking up the lines] was a risk we were willing to take this weekend.”
The switches paid off on Friday, with three of the lines scoring. Cammarata ended the weekend with a goal and two assists after entering the series with only eight points.
“[The line change] gave me a little more confidence,” Cammarata said Friday. “I felt more energy coming into the game.”
Reilly had an assist on the Gophers’ first goal of the weekend, passing the puck to freshman Tyler Sheehy, who set up a slap shot by junior Hudson Fasching.
Bristedt tallied his 13th goal of the season on his new line in the third period on Friday, capping off Minnesota’s 4-1 victory.
“I think we got production out of three lines, and that’s exactly what we wanted,” Bristedt said Friday.
The Gophers added three more goals on Saturday but were unable to slow down Penn State’s offense.
The Nittany Lions used three even-strength goals, a power-play goal and one empty-net goal to win at Mariucci Arena for the first time in program history.
Minnesota scored two goals within one-and-a-half minutes in the second period to tie the game 2-2, but Penn State took the lead back less than a minute later.
Kloos tied the game again just before the end of the second, and his line almost gave the Gophers their first lead when Cammarata appeared to score.
After officials waived the goal, the Nittany Lions proceeded to rally, pulling back ahead before sealing the victory with an empty-netter in the final seconds.
“Two words that come to mind for me are frustrating and disappointing,” Lucia said Saturday. “We leave it to fate there at the end. That’s hockey sometimes.”