University Park, PA ( – The Gopher men's hockey team dropped a 5-2 Big Ten contest to Penn State on Saturday night in the regular-season finale.

Minnesota will return to University Park next weekend to open the Big Ten Tournament with a best-of-three quarterfinal series.

Mike Szmatula and Brent Gates Jr. picked up goals for the Gophers while Mat Robson made 34 saves to fall to 7-4-1 on the year.

Penn State (16-13-5 overall, 9-10-5-2 Big Ten) jumped out to a three-goal lead on the Gophers (19-15-2, 10-12-2-1) with goals from Alex Limoges, Denis Smirnov and Brandon Biro through the first half of game action on Saturday.

Szmatula put the Maroon & Gold on the board late in the second period when he notched his ninth of the year at 18:02 off assists from Scott Reedy and Jack Glover.

But the Nittany Lions would outscore Minnesota 2-1 in the final stanza with Limoges picking up his second of the game with a power-play goal at 2:37 and James Robinson adding an empty netter at 18:53.

Sandwiched in between the Penn State goals was Gates’ 12th goal of the year at 14:44. Tyler Sheehy and Tommy Novak picked up assists on Minnesota’s second goal.

The Gophers outshot Penn State 41-40 on the night. Minnesota’s penalty kill was 4-for-5 although the power play went 0-for-5.

The Gophers will return to Penn State next weekend for a Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal series. The best-of-three series opens with Game One on Friday, March 2, Game Two on Saturday, March 3 and Game Three, if necessary, on Sunday, March 4. Additional game information will be announced when available.

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