Penn State’s Comeback Falls Short; Lose to Michigan 3-2

Story posted January 14, 2022 in Sports, CommRadio by Alex Rocco

After getting swept by Notre Dame last weekend, Penn State dropped its third straight game on Friday night against Michigan.

The Nittany Lions fell to the Wolverines 3-2 on the road in a back-and-forth affair.

Michigan got off to a fast start when freshman defender Luke Hughes scored his eighth goal of the season just six minutes into the contest. Freshman forward Mackie Samoskevich and sophomore forward Thomas Bordeleau were credited with assists on the goal.

The blue and white had a major opportunity to tie the game as senior forward Nolan Moyle hit junior forward Kevin Wall from behind sending Wall flying to the boards. Moyle received a game misconduct sending Penn State on the power play for five minutes.

However, the Nittany Lions could not capitalize on their power-play chance and that was a common theme all game long.

The game began to get more physical after the Moyle penalty and late in the first-period freshman forward Ben Schoen retaliated with a major hit, also receiving a game misconduct.

Unlike Penn State, the Wolverines took advantage of their power play opportunity as just seven seconds after Schoen’s penalty sophomore forward Matty Beniers gave his team a two-goal lead.

The goal marked Beniers 13th of the season with assists going to fifth-year forward Michael Pastujov and sophomore defender Owen Power.

Less than one minute later, Michigan extended its lead to three after a power-play goal by sophomore forward Kent Johnson, his sixth of the season. Tallying assists on the goal were Beniers and sophomore forward Brendan Brisson.

The second period featured a lot of back and forth play with the Nittany Lions picking up their offensive attack late in the period. The best chance for Penn State came when junior forward Connor McMenamin was stopped on a breakaway by sophomore goalie Erik Portillo.

The blue and white looked to carry its offensive attack from late in the second period to the third period.

That is exactly what they did as just two minutes into the period sophomore forward Tyler Paquette sniped a shot past Portillo for his eighth goal of the campaign making it a two-goal contest.
Sophomore forward Chase McLane forced a turnover and made a great pass to Paquette for the assist.

The goal from Paquette gave the Nittany Lions a huge momentum boost with the offense continuing to create chances.

Just three minutes later freshman forward Ryan Kirwan found himself with a 2-on-1 with Wall and Wall made no mistake burying his shot for his team-leading 14th goal. Kirwan and sophomore defender Christian Berger were credited with assists on the goal.

Midway through the third-period senior goalie Oskar Autio made an excellent save against Samoskevich who was on a breakaway.

The Wolverines had a 5-on-3 power play with just three minutes left in the game but the Nittany Lions penalty kill came up strong, not allowing a goal.

Unfortunately for Penn State, Portillo made a couple of huge saves with under a minute to play giving Michigan its third win of the season against the Nittany Lions.

Penn State falls to 3-10 in Big Ten play while the Wolverines move 8-5.

Autio made a season-high 38 saves on 41 shots whereas Portillo tallied 28 saves in the victory.

Leading the way offensively for Michigan was Beniers who had a goal and an assist while the Nittany Lions had five different players tally a point.

The difference in the game was in the special teams’ battle with the Wolverines scoring two goals on the power-play and Penn State failing to convert on its four opportunities.

The blue and white will try to get back in the win column on Saturday night when it concludes its two-game series against Michigan.

Alex Rocco is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email afr5646@psu.edu