2022-23 Penn State men’s hockey series grades: Michigan

Story posted November 7, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Mac Young

Penn State shocked the college hockey world this past weekend when they upset a No. 1 ranked team for the first time in their history.

The Nittany Lions dominated the Wolverines in the opening game collecting a 3-0 victory. In game 2, the blue and white found themselves down 3-0 but mounted a wild third period comeback to get the game to overtime before falling in the extra session by a final score of 4-3.

Here’s how each position group performed in Penn State’s series split versus Michigan.

Forwards: A

There were questions about whether the Penn State offense could keep up its prolific scoring in non-conference games going into Big Ten play, and the Nittany Lions answered those questions with a resounding yes against Michigan.

Penn State got scoring from the top of the lineup to the bottom. In game 1, the Nittany Lions kept their foot on the gas, adding to their second period lead and scoring an empty net goal before the Michigan offense could drum up any sort of offensive momentum to come back.

In game two, Penn State displayed the ability to keep up with one of the best forward groups in the nation. Despite digging themselves into a 3-0 hole, the Nittany Lion forwards battled back with depth scoring.

The blue and white offense notched three goals in under 10 minutes to earn itself a point by getting the game into the extra session. Despite falling in overtime, the Nittany Lions collected a 4-point weekend, putting them on top of the Big Ten standings.

Defense: A

This series was the biggest test for this young defense corps this year, and they passed with flying colors.

In game 1, the defensemen helped pitch a shutout allowing just 17 Wolverine shots to get through to goaltender Liam Souliere.

In game two, the Nittany Lions found themselves down three goals early but were able to shut down the high-powered Michigan offense throughout the third, allowing for the big comeback.
This group battled with a team who averaged over five goals per game coming into the series and held them to four total throughout the two contests.

Goaltending: A-

After earning his first career shutout at Wisconsin, Liam Souliere followed it up by blanking the highest-scoring offense in college hockey for his second straight shutout performance.

He continued to hold his own in game two, especially in the third period,  before letting in a tough overtime goal.

Despite his first loss this season, Souliere continues to show his confidence between the pipes. He’s feeling like the number one goaltender and looks like a number one goaltender of a top team.

Coaching: A

Guy Gadowsky and his coaching staff have the entire Penn State team playing well. It’s not just the top two lines or one particular defense pair.

Every player in the lineup, from the goalie crease to the forwards up front is playing well and with confidence.

Despite the power play still struggling, the Nittany Lions did a nice job staying out of the box more than their opponents.

Overall, the coaching staff had the team ready to play to the immense competition that Michigan brings to the table, something they could not say last season at home.

It’s a straight As weekend for the Nittany Lions they’ll look to build upon when they take on another “monster of the Big Ten” in Minnesota this upcoming weekend.

Maclain Young is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email macyoung21@gmail.com.