Complete Third Period Collapse Leads to First Complete Sweep of Nittany Lions

Story posted January 29, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Joshua Bartosik

“Bend, don’t break” has been the motto for No. 6 Penn State all season long. The Nittany Lions finally broke in Ann Arbor against No. 7 Michigan.

The blue and white saw a three-goal lead become a one-goal lead, then go back to a two-goal lead, before ultimately giving up three goals in the span of less than five minutes in the third period to drop their second consecutive game.

This weekend marks the first time Penn State has lost consecutive games this season, and it comes at arguably its worst weekend of the year.

Game two seemed to be a complete flip of the first, as the Nittany Lions had an incredible first 40 minutes of play before falling flat in the final frame.

Just six seconds apart in the opening minute, Tyler Gratton and Xander Lamppa found the back of the net to put Penn State up early.

Those two goals set a new Penn State record for fastest back-to-back goals, previously set at nine seconds by Dylan Richard and Chase Berger in 2017.

Lamppa’s goal was his third of the weekend, and his fifth of the season against the Wolverines. His only other goal on the season came against Wisconsin in late October.

Early in the second period, it looked like the Wolverines’ Adam Fantilli had cut the deficit in half, but a lengthy official review showed Ethan Edwards made illegal contact to the head prior to the goal, so it was disallowed.

Penn State did not squander its opportunity on the five minute major, getting a power play marker from Danny Dzhaniyev to extend the lead to three.

It was at this point in the game where Luke Hughes showed why he’s one of the best defenseman in all of college hockey.

The New Jersey Devils prospect would score twice in the span of five minutes to cut the deficit to one, before double dipping yet again later in the third to help the maize and blue come all the way back.

Hughes’ four goal performance is the first time an opposing player has scored four goals in a game agains the Nittany Lions since 2013.

Calling the third period a disappointment is an understatement; it was a complete beatdown.

A team that normally prides itself on loading up on shots and strong defensive play saw their shot total be half that of Michigan’s in the third.

A team that relies on Hobey Baker finalist Liam Souliere to make the crucial saves saw their junior netminder surrender four goals in a game for the first time this season.

A team with 14 of its 18 wins coming when it scores first has now dropped all four games in the month of January when doing so.

The Nittany Lions find themselves in a five-team battle for second place in the Big Ten conference, and have yet another gauntlet of a series next week in Columbus against the Buckeyes.

The tide for the blue and white is shifting, and they need to find a way to right the ship fast before they begin to sink.

Joshua Bartosik is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email