Penn State Power Play Resurrects for Comeback Victory
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The headline was less than a minute from being flipped. With a handful of minutes in a crucial Big Ten matchup with Michigan State, the Penn State power play had faltered yet again.
The unit was 0-for-3 on the night and one for its last 24 before a pivotal moment in Friday night’s contest.
With a mere 1:44 remaining in regulation time, the Nittany Lion man advantage was given one more chance to right their wrongs and complete a comeback against the stingy Spartans.
And right their wrongs they did.
With Michigan State trying to keep the puck tucked to the nearside boards, Xander Lamppa worked it free. He found a wide open Tyler Paquette who instead of challenging star Spartan goaltender Dylan St. Cyr, made a perfect feed to Tyler Gratton on the back door.
Gratton tapped it in the open cage and just like that the power play had scored a crucial last minute game winning goal to defeat Michigan State 4-3 in regulation.
“Special teams wins games,” Gratton said of the power play. The Nittany Lion forward also mentioned that the team’s power play is not suddenly fixed, but “tonight was a good start.”
This game was an uphill battle all night for Penn State. Coach Guy Gadowsky said the team was “throttled” in the first period.
Despite getting dominated, especially on the forecheck, the Nittany Lions scored the opening goal with Jimmy Dowd Jr. making a nice individual play to drive the net.
However, the Spartans quickly answered with two of their own including a goal on the power play. Penn State would not lead again until the final minute of the contest.
Gadowsky went as far as saying, “I think that Jimmy Dowd’s goal might have been the worst thing to happen to us, because we were getting crushed.”
He added that “we got a goal that we did not deserve,” and the team got complacent taking the early lead when Michigan State was really carrying the play.
The Nittany Lions started to play better in the second period and evened the game up with a Christian Berger goal, one of two he would eventually score. The Blue and White finally looked to be on the right track before the Spartans evened the score less than 30 seconds later.
All momentum went out the door and the Nittany Lions had to regroup for period number three.
The play was pretty even again, but Christian Berger’s point shot snuck on by a host of Penn State and Michigan State players to tie things up at 3-3.
Then that crucial power play arrived and the rest is history. A packed Pegula Ice Arena ended up playing a huge role in the comeback victory.
With students not being allocated tickets due to Thanksgiving break, Gadowsky was super pleased to see the turnout at Pegula Ice Arena.
“We expected a sparse student section, (but) wow did the community come out. I mean it was packed, it was so nice to see,” Gadowsky said, “to see you know, when they’re not here (the Roar Zone), see the community rally behind us and fill it like that, I guarantee you they played a big part in us coming (back).”
Maclain Young is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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Second Year / Broadcast Journalism