Penn State Men’s Hockey Falls to Michigan State in Back-and Forth-Affair

Story posted December 5, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Evan Popalis

A thrilling contest was witnessed Saturday night at Pegula Ice Arena. After snagging a 4-2 victory a day earlier, Penn State fell at the hands of the Michigan State Spartans, 4-3, to split the two-game series.

The Nittany Lions rattled 53 total shots on goal as the blue and white showed off their excellent pace all night.

“I thought we played well tonight,” said senior defensemen Paul DeNaples. “We figured out how to get more shots to the net.”

An interesting first period ensued to kick off the matchup between the Nittany Lions and Spartans. Michigan State had its legs early and outskated Penn State in the opening minutes.

Michigan State benefited from the fast start and was rewarded less than four minutes into the opening period. Jeremy Davidson notched his eighth tally of the season on a shot that snuck under the left arm of Penn State goaltender Oskar Autio. Davidson’s linemates, Mitchell Lewandowski and Jesse Tucker tossed in the assists on the first score.

The Nittany Lions answered a few minutes later at the seven-minute mark of the period. Chase McLane scored on a tough-angled shot that beat netminder Pierce Charleson of Michigan State to knot the score at 1-1.

Senior captain Dennis Cesana gave the men in the green sweaters the advantage on a backhand-roof shot over the right shoulder of Autio. A superb play containing rotation allowed Cesana to be alone right on the doorstep.

The Spartans entertained a 2-1 lead heading into the middle frame.

Halfway through the second, Penn State found the equalizer. Connor MacEachern reached the double-digit mark in goals scored. The junior forward was helped out by assists from Danny Dzhaniyev and Christian Berger.

The tightly-contested game went to the final period tied 2-2. Special teams became paramount in the last twenty minutes. The lone powerplay goal came off the stick of Lewandowski four minutes into the third period.

The advantage for the Spartans grew larger after sophomore forward Kristof Papp hit twine for the first time in his collegiate career. A.J. Hodges and Josh Nodler racked up assists on Papp’s inaugural tally.

Down by two goals, Penn State managed to cut the deficit in half with a Carson Dyck goal. Much like Papp, it is Dyck’s first career collegiate goal of his young career. The freshman pushed the Nittany Lions within a goal as the final whistle was on the horizon.

Following a furious offensive push for the blue and white, it would never find a way to beat Charleson again. The Spartans held off the comeback effort to take game two and force a split.

“The big picture is we thought we did a lot of good things tonight,” said Gadowsky.

The Nittany Lions are 10-7-0 (2-6-0) following the setback against the Spartans. Michigan State improves to 9-6-1 (4-4-0) after the weekend in Pennsylvania.

Next up, Penn State takes its talent on the road to Madison to battle the Badgers of Wisconsin. 

Evan Popalis is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

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Evan Popalis

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Evan Popalis is a third-year from Lititz, Pennsylvania, majoring in broadcast journalism. He is a writer, analyst, and play-by-play commentator for the CommRadio sports department. His writings include weekly NHL betting previews along with power rankings for the NHL and NFL. He appears weekly on the NHL Podcast as a host and analyst reviewing the previous week’s action. If you would like to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).