Penn State Men’s Hockey Takes 1st Game on the Road at Michigan State

Story posted February 28, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Evan Popalis

Time was of the essence between two squads fighting for necessary points in Penn State and Michigan State.

With its back against the wall, Penn State found a route to victory Friday night against Michigan State, 5-3. The Nittany Lions salvaged their position in the Big Ten standings by overcoming a two-goal deficit in the third period.

Penn State opened the scoring on a tally from junior Tyler Gratton after he received a drop pass from freshman Danny Dzhaniyev crossing the attacking blue line. Gratton wristed one under the glove hand of Spartan goaltender Pierce Charleson.

Michigan State answered on the power play with a goal from Josh Nodler. His sixth goal of the season was assisted by Erik Middendorf and Jesse Tucker.

The teams went into their respective locker rooms tied 1-1 after the opening 20 minutes of action.

The Spartans grabbed their first lead of the game on an even-strength goal from David Gucciardi. A.J. Hodges and Nodler pitched in the assists to put the home squad in unfamiliar territory – leading a game.

Michigan State started to separate itself from Penn State at the brink of the second intermission. With six seconds remaining before the horn, Middendorf recorded a team-leading 12th goal of the campaign.

The Spartans carried a 3-1 advantage into the final frame, trying to erase a 12-game losing streak.

The Nittany Lions wasted no time to pull within a goal. Senior Adam Pilewicz found the back of the net for the third time this season after receiving a feed from freshman Ben Schoen. Sophomore Jimmy Dowd Jr. was credited with the secondary assist.

Down 3-2, Penn State pulled even with the Spartans on another goal from a senior. Captain Paul DeNaples lit the lamp for the second time this year on an unassisted tally.

On the power play, Penn State regained the lead for the second time in the contest. Junior forward Connor MacEachern recorded his 14th goal of the year. Dowd Jr. and Schoen were the duo to provide assists again for the Nittany Lions score.

With under a minute remaining and the goalie pulled, the Spartans were unable to take advantage with the extra man on the ice as senior Ben Copeland fired home an empty netter to seal the deal for the blue and white.

Penn State found its 15th win of the season moving to 15-17-1 overall on the campaign. Its conference record currently sits at 6-16-1.

Michigan State dropped its 13th straight contest, tumbling to 11-21-1 on the season.

The victory propels the Nittany Lions past Wisconsin in the conference field with a single game remaining for all teams inside the Big Ten.

The season finale is set for 6 p.m. Saturday in East Lansing at Munn Ice Arena.

Evan Popalis is a fourth-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).