Penn State Splits Home Series with Michigan
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Blake Gober scored the overtime game-winning goal Friday as Penn State (4-3-0, 2-1-0 Big Ten) defeated Michigan (3-2-0, 0-1-0 Big Ten) 5-4. Penn State got off to another slow start Saturday and couldn’t recover, falling 5-2.
Penn State came in after a disappointing series against American International College in which they won last Friday, 7-5, but lost in overtime Saturday, 3-2.
Michigan swept Vermont at home, winning 4-1 and 3-2.
In game one on Friday, the Nittany Lions started slow, finding themselves trailing four separate times throughout the game and coming back each time.
Gober found himself on the end of a James Robinson pass right in front of the Michigan goal just :53 into overtime when the puck hit off his body and just tucked itself into the back of the net. After an official review, the goal stood.
“I saw nothing,” Gober said. “I just went to the net and saw Jim (James Robinson) screaming, it was a good play by him so we’ll take it.”
It was Gober’s first goal of the season and second of his career.
The overtime period came after Chase Berger scored with 1:31 remaining to tie the game at four to send it to an extra five-minute period.
Berger was also 12 of 23 on face-offs.
Michigan jumped out to an early lead just 2:03 into the game when Will Lockwood got on the end of a bouncing puck that got caught in between three Penn State players and poked in through the five-hole of Peyton Jones.
Shortly after, Dancs received a pass on a two-on-one and went bar down past Peyton Jones to put Michigan up by two.
Penn State responded when Andrew Sturtz jumped out of the penalty box and shot the puck through a screen and beat LaFontaine to pull the Nittany Lions within one.
With this goal, Sturtz pulls himself within one goal of tying Casey Bailey’s record for most all-time goals at Penn State.
Denis Smirnov and Alex Limoges also added a goal apiece for Penn State while Michigan’s Dexter Dancs added two goals and Jake LaFontaine recorded 49 saves in the loss.
Cooper Marody also scored for the Wolverines.
Penn State got back to old ways, outshooting Michigan 54-35.
“Even if we lost, I thought we played our best game and absolutely, 100 percent the game most to our identity,” Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky said.
Gadowsky said the Nittany Lions experienced some tough breaks in the first period but were able to pull themselves back into the game by sticking true to their game plan.
“The way they played was much back to our identity,” Gadowsky said. “We are a lot more successful that way.”
Game two was a much different story, as Penn State did not meet their shot total of the night before and got thoroughly dominated.
The first period of Saturday’s game got off to a similar start for the Nittany Lions and didn’t get better. Both teams got off to a sloppy start and couldn’t get any good offensive possession. Sturtz was a scratch.
Penn State was given two power play opportunities, including a five-minute major. Lockwood made a dirty hit, boarding Cole Hults. Even though the Nittany Lions power play looked fast and good, they couldn’t put a goal on the board.
Meanwhile, Tony Calderone for the Wolverines knocked in a goal four minutes in. Penn State only had 14 shots after one and trailed 1-0.
Things really started going Penn State’s way in the second. They came out feisty, attacking and with more life. The Wolverines committed more and more penalties.
Penn State had four power play opportunities by the end of the period but failed to capitalize on each one. As time went on, the Blue and White got more lethargic and let Michigan gain more and more momentum.
That momentum boiled over with six minutes left in the period. The Wolverines knocked in two goals within nine seconds, including Calderone’s second of the game.
Penn State needed to wake up down 3-0. Center Nate Sucese finally got one by Wolverine goalie Hayden Lavigne to cut it to a two-goal deficit, but Penn State still looked out of whack trailing 3-1 heading into the third.
Five minutes into the third, Dancs of Michigan knocked home another goal off some very strong forechecking and Penn State’s inability to clear the zone.
Just about a minute later, the Wolverines pushed another one past Peyton Jones and that was it for the sophomore goalie, who was pulled for junior backup Chris Funkey.
No matter what time of the game it was, Penn State was never in a rhythm, never had full life and their energy was extremely lacking. The energy they needed and had the previous night to come back and win was gone.
Penn State got a late goal and still put up 44 shots, but Michigan rolled the whole game to an easy 5-2 victory.
Gadowsky was proud of his team’s performance, even in defeat, and was quick to give props to Michigan.
“I’m not disappointed with what we did, but you have to give credit to Michigan,” Gadowsky said. “I’m disappointed in the result, but not the effort.”
The Nittany Lions moved to 4-4-0 with the weekend split. Michigan improved to 4-2-0.
Penn State has split each series this year so far. The Nittany Lions went 0-9 on the power play this weekend.
Michigan will return home next weekend to take on Ferris State. Penn State will host Mercyhurst next Friday and Saturday night. Friday night’s puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Mason Gallina is a senior majoring in digital/print journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matt Harvey is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and history. To contact him, email email@example.com.