Penn State Men’s Hockey Falls to Michigan State in Regular-Season Finale

Story posted February 28, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Maclain Young

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Penn State Nittany Lions capped off their regular season with a 2-1 loss at Michigan State Saturday Night.

In a shocking move to start the night, Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky started sophomore goaltender Liam Souliere for the second straight game.

This broke the long ongoing chain of series where Penn State would roll out Souliere for game one of a series and senior goaltender Oskar Autio for Game 2.

The Spartans struck first with Josh Nodler capitalizing on a rebound chance from Souliere about halfway through the first period.

Souliere was unable to steer the rebound into the corner, instead putting it right out in the slot where Nodler buried the chance.

The Nittany Lions struggled to establish significant offensive zone time in the first while the Spartans were able to cycle the puck in Penn State ice a handful of times.

However, with just under a minute to play in the first, Penn State capitalized on the rush with Kevin Wall tapping the puck into an empty net off a sweet pass from Connor McMenamin.

The Penn State celebration would be ended almost immediately, as with just nine seconds to play in the period, Adam Goodsir put the Spartans back in front.

The shot came from just above the goal line with Souliere getting most of it before the puck just trickled into his net.

Coach Gadowsky blamed his team’s loss on its poor first period.

“You take 20 minutes off and you’re going to be behind the eight ball,” Gadowsky said postgame.

Gadowsky said he liked how his team finished the game despite not getting the win.

Ultimately, two brutal goals for Souliere to give up in his second consecutive start with the first Michigan State goal coming off a poor rebound and the second on an awkward angle with less than ten seconds left in the period.

Gadowsky said the staff would go over who will start in net in the Big Ten tournament throughout the week.

Penn State was uncharacteristically outshot 12-5 in the first.

The Nittany Lions came out of the locker room determined to re-tie the game, but Spartan goaltender Drew DeRidder stoned Connor McMenamin on a grade-A, one-time chance.

Penn State carried the play for the first half of the second period, but the game evened up when the action got a bit chippy.

McMenamin and Connor MachEachern got into it with some Spartan players between whistles, but no penalties were called.

The Nittany Lions were able to generate a plethora of chances, including a sequence where a Michigan State player lost a stick, but were unable to tally a goal in the period.

After two periods of play nothing had changed on the scoreboard and the Spartans led in shots 24-19.

Early in the third period MacEachern was gifted a breakaway from some flat-footed Spartan defenders but was denied by the pad of DeRidder. MacEachern looked to be aiming low to the blocker side to tie the game at two.

After nearly two and a half periods of play, the first penalty of the game was called. Christian Krygier of the Spartans was called for a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting from behind.

Penn State didn’t score once on the ensuing power play.

The crowd at Munn Arena erupted at the end of the penalty kill and the Spartans carried the momentum from that point on.

With just about two minutes left to play, Kevin Wall cut hard to the net on his backhand, tumbling into DeRidder in the process.

Penn State pulled the goalie shortly after, but couldn’t produce any notable chances against a stout Spartan defense.

Penn State will match up with Ohio State next weekend in a three-game series in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

Ohio State goaltender Jakub Dobes gave the Nittany Lions a hard time last time the two teams faced off, only allowing two goals and stopping over 90 shots throughout the series.

However, Gadowsky is not overly focused on who is in goal for the Buckeyes.

“It’s us to play our game regardless of who’s in net to be successful,” Gadowsky said. “When we’re firing on all our offensive cylinders, we feel good about anybody.”

Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email