No. 13 Penn State men’s hockey stuns No. 1 Michigan to stay unbeaten

Story posted November 5, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Josh Bartosik

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Mark Nov. 4, 2022, as a day that will go down in history.

It was the day the Penn State Nittany Lions defeated the top-ranked team in the nation for the first time in program history.

Coming into tonight’s contest, the No. 13 Nittany Lions were off to a program record 8-0-0 start, but their biggest task lay ahead when the No. 1 Michigan Wolverines came to town.

Both the Wolverines and Nittany Lions knew Pegula Ice Arena was going to be loud, but neither team could have prepared for just how loud it was.

A crowd of 6,455 fans, the second most in Penn State history, along with a raucous student section, seemed to overpower the best team in the nation right from puck drop.

“How good is our atmosphere? It’s just so great,” coach Guy Gadowsky said. “That’s honestly what I am going to remember tonight.”

The Nittany Lions fed off of that crowd energy throughout the entire game, outshooting the Wolverines 49 to 17 and coming away with a 3-0 shutout victory.

The victory is Penn State’s first win over Michigan since 2020 and their first shutout win over Michigan since 2014.

The win also marks just the fifth win over a top-five opponent for the blue and white in program history, bringing their overall record to 5-28-1.

The blanking of the maize and yellow now marks back-to-back shutouts for junior netminder Liam Souliere, who gave a lot of credit to the team around him.

“I think the team in front of me had a great game as a whole,” Souliere said. “Definitely made my job a little bit easier.”

From a viewer’s perspective, the win certainly did seem like an easy one, considering how much Penn State dominated the game in nearly every facet.

The style of the game can essentially be summed up by one quote repeated by Michigan’s interim Head Coach Brendan Naurato after his team’s loss.

“They won every race and battle,” Naurato said.

One of those players in the blue and white who won said battles was forward and North Dakota transfer Ashton Calder.

Calder was one of the most dominant players on the ice for the Nittany Lions, putting up seven shots and netting a goal off of two beautiful feeds from his linemates, Connor MacEachern and Connor McMenamin.

“His 200-foot game has been excellent, and he just finds ways to create and create,” Gadowsky said. “I think [Calder] was probably our best player tonight.”

Calder wasn’t the only new face to find the back of the net for Penn State. Ture Linden, the RPI transfer, opened the scoring early in the second period to send the Pegula crowd into a frenzy.

While Linden has had one of the hottest sticks in college hockey as of late, he was also the best centerman on either side of the ice.

Linden won 77 percent of his faceoffs on Friday, emphasizing exactly why Gadowsky and the coaching squad went after him and Calder in the offseason.

“They’ve been a great fit for Penn State number one,” Gadowsky said. “They fit the criteria with our culture, and they fit certain roles on the ice.”

“We just played Penn State hockey,” Calder said. “We did well on transition, stopped the rush and took advantage on fast breaks.”

A huge part of stopping that rush for the Nittany Lions was Gadowsky’s bold tactic to start his line of Xander Lamppa, Christian Sarlo and Tyler Paquette against Michigan’s top line.

The physicality that line brought paid dividends for Penn State, as it held Michigan’s top line to zero points, including no shots from Adam Fantilli, the top point-getter in college hockey.

“As a line, they were our best line,” Gadowsky said. “That line has those tough attributes, and I thought they were a good match.”

Lamppa, especially has been a special player to watch as of late. After his empty-netter tonight, Lamppa has three points in his last two games and has already tied his career-high in goals in just seven games.

“Xander’s a really smart hockey player,” Gadowsky said. “That’s what makes him tough to play against.”

A gritty and near-perfect performance from the Nittany Lions squad helped the team secure their biggest win in program history and extend their program-record start to 9-0-0.

Both teams will battle it out again on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Pegula Ice Arena.

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