Penn State vs. Michigan State: Series Grades

Story posted December 5, 2021 in

This past weekend saw mixed success for Penn State as it recorded a series split against Michigan State at Pegula Ice Arena.

The Nittany Lions started the weekend off with a 4-2 win in the opening game before losing 4-3 in the Teddy Bear Toss game to end the series.

Here’s a look at how each position group played during the weekend.

Offense: A

Offensively, this was arguably the best series the blue and white has played since Big Ten play started this season.

Penn State was scored seven times during the series, which ties its most scored in a conference series so far this season.

That scoring was balanced in both games, as only one Penn State player scored more than once in the series.

Connor MacEachern found the back of the net on the power play in the opening game and scored in the second period in game two.

Those two goals from MacEachern tied him with Kevin Wall for the team lead in that department, as they both have ten on the year.

Depth has proven to be one of the bigger factors for this Nittany Lion team all season long and that was on full display over the weekend.

Defense: B+

Things started out great on the defensive side for Penn State, only giving up two goals in game one to a Michigan State team that was coming off a series sweep against Wisconsin the week before.

Then the defense took a step back the next day, as the Spartans recovered with a 4-3 win, but the weekend overall should still be viewed as a success defensively.

During both games in the series, the Nittany Lions came away with victories in the shot department; with that added offensive pressure keeping the Spartans out of their offensive zone with the chance to create more damage.

Goaltending: B

Similar to the defense, the series started out great in the first game for the blue and white before taking a step back in the finale as Oskar Autio got both starts in this series.

During the game-one win, Autio remained consistent during all three periods as he saved 30 shots while only allowing two goals.

The game was arguably one of Autio’s best starts of the season, as he tallied his second-highest save total while allowing just two or more goals in a game for the fifth time this season.

Game two did not see the same results, though, as Autio only saved 25 shots while giving up four goals during the loss.

Overall, Autio played well, which is a good sign for future conference matchups for Penn State, but there are certainly things that can be built off of.

Coaching: B+

The Nittany Lions arguably played their most efficient hockey during the series and did not spend much time in the sin bin.

Game one only saw two Penn State penalties, while game two had only three, which did include a power-play goal that gave the Spartans a 3-2 lead they would never relinquish.

On the other side, the Nittany Lions were able to take advantage of one power-play opportunity on seven attempts.

Like the Spartans power-play goal, the Nittany Lions lone goal with the man advantage led to a 3-2 lead in game one which Penn State would hold on to.

Coach Guy Gadowsky and his team was able to pick up their second conference win of the season, so they do have that to be proud of, but there is still work to be done prior to the Nittany Lions’ upcoming series against Wisconsin.


Logan Bourandas is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email lxb5412@psu.edu.