Matthew Knies Scores Game Tying Goal And Game Winner In The Dramatic Comeback Over Penn State

February 18th, 2023: Penn State took the lead with 2:03 left in the game but Matthew Knies silenced the crowd with the game-tying goal with 41 seconds left and the game-winner in overtime. 

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Penn State scored 29 seconds into the game on their very first shot. Rhett Pitlick answered with a goal in the second period. Penn State answered with two minutes and three seconds left to take the lead. But Matthew Knies then scored with 41 seconds left to tie it and eventually scored the overtime winner to complete the sweep over Penn State.

Until the third period, the Gophers’ top line was held scoreless. Even though they were coming off a ten-point performance in yesterday’s 7-2 victory over Penn State. Only a select few times this year the Gophers’ top line has been held off the scoresheet so you knew something had to give.

Give all the credit to Penn State though as they completely changed their game plan. Yesterday Penn State tried to match the Gophers by playing a similar style to the Gophers. We all know how that turned out.

But one of many adjustments the Nittany Lions made was putting in Ryan Kirwan. The sophomore forward did a good job shutting down the Gophers’ second line which has been pretty dominant all year.

Despite their changes, as soon as Danny Dzhaniyev scored with two minutes left to give the Nittany Lions the lead, you could instantly see the push by the Gophers. Sure they have a playoff spot locked up and before coming into this series the Gophers clinched their second straight regular-season Big Ten title. But despite that, there still is something to play for.

“We were playing to continue to get better,” Gophers head coach Bob Motzko said. “We got a lot to play for. This is college hockey and you’re on the road. We wanted to come into this building and knock them off.”

After Ture Linden scored 29 seconds into the game the Gophers answered in the second with a breakaway goal. Luke Mittelstadt picked up a puck in the defensive zone and sent a stretch pass to Connor Kurth on the boards, Kurth one-touch passed one to Rhett Pitlick up the middle. Pitlick rushed in and beat Souliere tying the game at 1-1.

The rest of the game was played tight. Not a lot of shots or chances for both teams but that was until Dzhaniyev scored with two minutes left to give the Nittany Lions the lead. Coach Motzko said he wasn’t happy with Dzhaniyey’s goal which was probably the result of Ashton Calder passing the puck through the legs of Jackson Lacombe who was standing on the goal line.

But a minute and a half later with Justen Close on the bench for the extra attacker, Knies scored with 41 seconds left. Jimmy Snuggerud, who had two of the seven goals yesterday, came streaking in on the right side. He went behind the net and slung one back from where he came from. Knies caught the pass and ripped a low one-timer past Liam Souliere for his 19th goal of the year.

Knies and Cooley started overtime on the ice together and recorded a shot before going to the bench. They were quickly sent back out on the ice and later cashed in on the game-winner.

Cooley controlled the puck on the left side in the offensive zone and made a break toward the blue line, this move created space for Knies and Ryan Johnson but also brought two Penn State defenders onto him. With a Cale Makar-like move, Cooley quickly cut back toward the net and had a mini two-on-one. He sauced one on the stick of Knies who ripped home his 20th goal of the year.

Knies now has seven game-winning goals which leads the nation. His seven are two more than Carter Mazur of the Denver Pioneers. Only Jason Polin has more goals in the entire NCAA than Knies and only seven other players have a higher goals per game than Knies who has .62 goals scored per game.

The Gophers will return home next weekend to host the Ohio State Buckeyes who just beat Michigan in the outdoor game in Cleveland, Ohio. It will be the last two regular season games of the year. The Gophers will get a weekend off after that as well, in result of getting the bye in the Big Ten tournament. They will host the lowest seed that wins on March 11th.

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