Penn State Men’s Hockey Blows 2-Goal Lead, Gets Swept by Michigan
Despite another hard-fought effort from Penn State, Michign handled business and defeated the Nittany Lions at Yost Arena 4-3 on Saturday night.
Penn State dominated most of the first period, creating plenty of chancers and keeping Michigan goaltender Erick Portillo busy throughout. The Wolverines went 14 minutes without getting a shot on goal.
However, the Nittany Lions failed to put one past the Wolverines’ netminder despite their extended zone time.
Michigan’s offense began creating pressure with just under two minutes remaining in the first period, but Big Ten leading scorer Kent Johnson was stoned by Nittany Lion goaltender Oskar Autio with the toe of his skate blade.
After the late-first-period push from the Wolverines, the frame ended scoreless with the Nittany Lions outshooting Michigan 11-7.
Penn State was gifted the game’s first power play, but it was Michigan who was able to capitalize. During a Penn State line change, Autio attempted a homerun stretch pass that was picked off creating a two-on-zero for the Wolverines.
Nolan Moyle finished off the chance giving the Michigan Wolverines the opener.
Just about two minutes later Penn State’s Ben Copeland capitalized on a scramble play scoring his fifth goal of the season. The officials reviewed the play for a possible offside, but the goal stood.
Penn State kept the pressure up in a back-and-forth second period when Christian Sarlo finished a chance and gave Penn State its first lead of the series.
The second period continued to be a fast-paced, back-and-forth event with both goaltenders exchanging great saves.
With about five minutes to play in the second Penn State got itself a three-on-one which Tyler Gratton finished off for the Nittany Lions’ third unanswered goal.
Second-overall pick Matty Beniers cut into the lead late in the second with assists from fellow stars Luke Hughes and Brendan Brisson.
The second period concluded with Penn State feeling good about their play with a 3-2 lead on the scoreboard.
That joy would not last long as less than a minute into the third Huges evened the game up off an assist from Beniers.
Not long after Hughes' goal, Michigan’s Jack Summers was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for a hit to the head.
The Nittany Lions failed to capitalize on their huge opportunity and the Wolverines responded. Shortly after the major, Brendan Brisson scored on a rising shot that beat Autio on the blocker side.
With 53 seconds left to play Michigan was penalized for too many men on the ice and Penn State was gifted one final opportunity to tie the game with a two-man advantage and an empty cage.
Penn State simply could not generate any grade-A opportunities and the Wolverines skated away with the comeback victory and series sweep.
It is the fourth straight contest where the Nittany Lions played a strong hockey game and failed to come up with the victory.
Learning how to win has been a painful process for this Penn State team, but each game shows signs of improvement against some of the most talented teams in the nation.
The Nittany Lions return home next week to do battle with the Wisconsin Badgers as Penn State looks to build off the lessons it learned at Yost.
Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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