Men’s Hockey Series Grades vs. Michigan

Story posted January 30, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Joshua Bartosik

It was a weekend of disappointment for No. 6 Penn State as they traveled to Ann Arbor to take on No. 7 Michigan and came away with its first back-to-back losses on the season.

The Nittany Lions left Yost Ice Arena with more questions than answers, and a relatively poor report card.

Offense: B
Perhaps one of the only bright sides of the weekend was that the blue and white still found ways to score despite missing key players in the lineup.

While they only put up three goals on 56 shots in the first game, the Nittany Lions were able to beat Erik Portillo four times on 36 tries.

Penn State’s performance in the second game becomes more impressive considering it was without Ben Schoen with injury, adding on to the banged up forward core.

The depth in the lineup continues to produce, with a three-goal weekend from Xander Lamppa. A positive sign for the blue and white as they head down the stretch

Defense: D+
While Penn State scored seven goals on the weekend, they also gave up seven goals in the first game, albeit with two empty netters.

Add that to five goals against in the second game and that adds up to one of the worst performances from the defensive core this season.

A plethora of odd-man rushes in the first game and an inability to play the body in the second game were the main factors in the losses.

For a team that prides itself on blocking shots, they only blocked 25 shots compared to the Wolverines’ 45, putting a bow on a weekend the blue line wants to forget.

Goaltending: B-
While it’s tough to blame the goaltending for the sweep, it’s hard to ignore that Liam Souliere was pulled halfway through the first game and gave up more than four goals for the first time this season in the second.

The Hobey Baker finalist gave up four goals on fourteen shots, including the first two shots he faced, before being pulled for freshman Noah Grannon in the second period.

Souliere stood tall for the first 40 minutes in game two before giving up three goals on 11 shots in the final period in Michigan’s massive comeback.

The Nittany Lions shouldn’t be too concerned with the goaltending play down the stretch, but they certainly don’t want this weekend to become a habit.

Coaching: D
Although Guy Gadowsky pulled Souliere at the right time in the first game and won a challenge in the second game, blowing a three-goal lead against a conference opponent is inexcusable.

After a flat performance in the majority of the first game, the blue and white were seemingly firing on all cylinders and were on the path to yet another series split.

The Nittany Lions couldn’t dig deep and surrendered three goals in under six minutes, suffering their first sweep of the season.

It couldn’t have come at a worse time for Penn State, as three points now separate second and sixth in the Big Ten Conference.

With both Ryan Kirwan and Schoen out long term, Gadowsky’s squad will have to find a new gear if they want to stand pat in one of the toughest conferences in college hockey.

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