Series Preview: Men’s Hockey vs. Michigan State

Audio/Story posted January 24, 2020 in CommRadio, Sports by Zech Lambert

Host Jeremy Ganes and analysts Jordan Hession and Jacob Cheris break down Penn State's struggles against Michigan and look ahead to the Nittany Lions' upcoming road series with Michigan State.

Coming into the season, many people projected Michigan State to be at the bottom of the Big Ten, but the Spartans have flipped that narrative on its head. Michigan State comes into this series against Penn State currently tied with the Nittany Lions for second in the Big Ten with 25 points.

The importance of this series cannot be understated for either team. Both teams are battling for the top of the Big Ten and any slip up could be costly as the season is winding down.

Penn State needs to find consistent offense if it wants any chance to have a successful weekend. However, Michigan State is one of the stingiest defensive teams in the country.

Michigan State allows only 2.3 goals per game, and its opponents have a shooting percentage of just .071. This is in large part due to the season that goalie John Lethemon is having. The senior net minder has posted a mind-boggling .943 save percentage so far this season.

Michigan State also likes to block shots. It will be important for Penn State to get as many shots towards the net as possible, because Lethemon is going to save a lot of them, and the defense is going to block a lot as well. The more chances Penn State gives itself to score, by shooting as many shots as possible, the better. Penn State’s forte is “shoot, shoot, shoot” which could help in trying to score against Michigan State’s great defense and goaltending.

These two teams matched up earlier this season and split the series at Pegula Ice Arena.

In the first game Penn State shot as much as it could, but Lethemon turned away all 48 shots the Nittany Lions put on net in a 2-0 Michigan State win.

In the second game, Penn State seemed to crack the code, though. They scored six goals on 31 shots in 6-4 win.

Penn State’s offense will need to show up for both games if it wants a chance to split this series in East Lansing. Even if the offense is solid, Michigan State’s defense and goaltending is so good that the Spartans could steal a low scoring win in at least one game.

Peyton Jones is also going to need to step up. Since a scorching hot start to the Jones has been inconsistent. In his last start, he allowed six goals against Michigan. Simply put, he needs to be better than that if Penn State wants a chance to win this weekend.

It is crucial for each team to get at least a split. If either team gets swept it could fall to as low as fourth in the Big Ten, as well as dropping in the Pairwise rankings to a position where the only route to the tournament is by winning the Big Ten tournament.

Both teams know what is on the line this weekend, and both teams will show up and play their best hockey.

Prediction: 1-1 split

Game 1: Michigan State 2, Penn State 1

Game 2: Penn State 4, Michigan 2


Zech Lambert is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

About the Contributors

Jeremy Ganes's photo

Jeremy Ganes

Senior / Journalism

Jeremy Ganes is an aspiring sports broadcaster and journalist at Penn State. He writes articles, produces broadcasts, and announces games for the CommRadio sports department. He also co-hosts an NFL-focused talk show called 4th & Long that airs live on CommRadio, alongside DJ Bauer. In addition to CommRadio content, Jeremy also assists in production and serves as an on-air personality to the PSNtv show Penn State Sports Night, where he covers sports such as baseball and football. He is also a reporter and producer for the Centre County Report. He can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Jordan Hession's photo

Jordan Hession

Junior / Broadcast Journalism

Jordan Hession is a junior from Annapolis, Maryland majoring in broadcast journalism. Jordan is the co-host of CommRadio’s longest running live radio show The Sin Bin with Kyle Cannillo. In the summer of 2020, Jordan interned at SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio as a sports programmer. When Jordan is not discussing sports, he is writing various articles for collegiate and professional sports leagues and teams. Jordan has a love for all sports but has a genuine passion to spread ice hockey and baseball globally. Away from broadcast journalism, Jordan enjoys lifting weights and cooking. Jordan’s role models in the broadcast journalism industry include Doc Emrick, Gary Thorne and Mike Lange. In the future, Jordan sees himself working as a producer or host in sports talk radio and potentially television. To contact Jordan, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Zech Lambert's photo

Zech Lambert

Senior / Broadcast journalism

Zech is a senior from Northampton, Pennsylvania. He is a football insider for CommRadio. He is also a co-host on the weekly talk show Ducks on the Pond, while also doing play-by-play for CommRadio and B1G+. On top of that, Zech is a sports editor at the Daily Collegian. Over the summer, he interned with the Charlottesville Tom Sox of the Valley Baseball League doing play-by-play, among other media roles. To contact him, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). You can also tweet him @Zech_Lambert with any random thoughts or just to have some sports banter.

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Jacob Cheris

Fourth-Year / Broadcast Journalism

Jacob Cheris is a fourth-year majoring in broadcast journalism from Gaithersburg, Maryland. He is an aspiring sports writer. Jacob is a huge Washington Capitals fan and has a great passion for hockey. He played all throughout high school. He is also a member of Penn State Sports Night, where he analyzes hockey and other sports on YouTube. Jacob also covers Penn State Men’s hockey as the lead editorial writer for Penn State Rivals, giving in depth analysis on the team, and feature stories on specific players.  Jacob is also the host of CommRadio’s hockey talk show “The Sin Bin”. Jacob is looking to expand his love for hockey and use it across all sports.