Penn State Falls to Michigan in B1G Conference Play
Thursday night, Penn State men’s hockey battled the Michigan Wolverines inside Pegula Ice Arena. It was game one of a two game series that would be spilt between Happy Valley and Madison Square Garden being a part of the Big Ten Super Saturday Series.
The action got started early when Penn State had a few opportunities in the first five minutes of play. However, the momentum went Michigan’s way when Eric Scheid took a hooking penalty just seven minutes into the period. The Nittany Lions killed off the penalty to keep the game scoreless.
The Wolverines continued to bring the offensive pressure and Tyler Motte scored the first goal of the game. The Nittany Lions got momentum on their side when Michael Downing took a hooking penalty10:59 into the period. Michigan killed the power play chance for Penn State but could not contain the offensive pressure as Chase Berger scored his 11th of the season on rebound from Conner Varley, knotting the game at one.
Just as quickly as Penn State tied the game, the Wolverines scored off the faceoff to take a 2-1 lead. Despite being down a goal late in first period, Penn State continued to battle and Vince Pedrie fired a shot from the blue line that was miss handled by goaltender Steve Racine and tied the game at two goals a piece.
Michigan continue to bring the fight to the Nittany Lions in the second and on a bad defensive play, Kyle Connor scored his 19th of the season, putting the Wolverines up 3-2. Michigan continued to have the momentum on their side when JT Compher scored with 9:01 left in the second. The bleeding continued for Penn State when Connor scored his second goal of the game, giving Michigan a big 5-2 lead over the Nittany Lions with 5:53 left in the second. Penn State was not out of it just yet, as they found themselves in a three on one opportunity and Tommy Olcyzk buried a shot top shelf making the score 5-3.
The third period began with the same fast paced play the first two periods saw. Michigan once again had the early advantage as Penn State’s Derian Thompson took a holding penalty. Shortly after killing the penalty, the Nittany Lions found more penalty trouble when Pedrie took a roughing the goalie penalty and Ricky DeRosa took a checking from behind penalty, giving the Wolverines a 5 on 3 opportunity.
Just as quickly as the power play started, Michigan put another point on the board, making the score 6-3 with 10:52 left in the third. Moments later, Motte put another point on the board for Michigan, giving them a 7-3 lead.
“Its not secret if you give Michigan odd man rushes that they’re going to finish,” said Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky.
After a goalie change for the Nittany Lions, they found some life and Luke Juha blasted a ripper from the point to cut the deficit to three with 6:53 left in the third.
The Nittany Lions were unable to convert on a couple of Michigan penalties in the closing minutes and the Blue and White fell 7-4.
Saturday Evening at Madison Square Garden proved to be as exciting as Thursday night. Both teams jumped out on the ice with fire in their eyes, but early penalty trouble got momentum shifts for both teams. Michigan stuck first when Alex Kile jumped on loose puck giving Michigan a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Penn State was quick to answer when David Goodwin redirected a shot from Pedrie to tie the game at one.
The second period began with the same excitement the first period provided. Michigan scored a short-handed goal 15 seconds into the period give them a 2-1 lead. The Nittany Lions answered quickly, scoring just 1:15 later tying the game at two goals apiece.
Penn State kept the momentum on their side and DeRosa scored from the slot, giving the Nittany Lions a 3-2 lead over Michigan heading into the third.
The third period began with fast paced play for both sides, but Michigan soon took over the momentum and showed their dominance in the third period. Having outscored their opponents 43-17 in the third period this season, they continued that dominance, netting four goals in the third period against the Nittany Lions. As the horn sounded, Michigan downed Penn State 6-3. After losing the series to Michigan this weekend, Penn State is in third place with 18 points in the Big Ten standings.
Keith Smith is a senior majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @iamkeithsmith.