Game Grades: Men’s Hockey vs. Michigan State
Penn State had a mixed bag of a final regular season series in East Lansing this weekend. The Nittany Lions took game one in comeback fashion 5-3, but dropped game two by a score of 2-1.
Penn State now has its sights set on a Big Ten tournament series with Ohio State this weekend, but first let’s take a look at how the Nittany Lions performed in each facet of the game.
Game one of the series was one of the best offensive showings Penn State has had all year. After a frustrating second period going down 3-1, the blue and white came out of the locker room with a vengeance.
Adam Pilewicz scored less than a minute into the third period to begin the comeback.
Penn State came at the Spartans time and time again, outshooting its opponents 18-4 in the third period.
A nicely played power play finished off by Connor MacEachern ended up being the game winning goal.
Game two however, was a different story for the offense. Penn State came out flat before scoring on the rush towards the end of the first period.
Despite playing better towards the end of the game, the Nittany Lions were unable to finish their chances against the last place Spartans. Penn State was even gifted a five minute power play that they did little to nothing with.
Going into this series, Michigan State had lost 12 in a row and had not scored at least seven goals in a series since its matchup with Wisconsin in late November.
The Penn State defense was simply caught lacking far too many times and was unable to play a complete game in both contests.
In game one, a rough second period made the Nittany Lions have to crawl from behind for victory while in game two a lack of alertness allowed the Spartans to score the opener and keep momentum for the rest of the game.
The defense played well in most other parts of the series, but the lapses have been catastrophical at times and popped up again this series.
A surprising move in this series was to start goaltender Liam Souliere in both games. While that decision will be discussed in coaching, Souliere himself had an alright series.
Despite giving up more goals, game one was arguably Souliere’s better performance on the weekend. He settled in as the game went on and helped his team get the come from behind victory.
The three goals were not bad goals to give up either, unlike what happened in game two.
On Michigan State’s first goal of game two in the series, Souliere’s biggest weakness was recognized when he turned a shot right back into the slot area where it was swiftly put away by Michigan State’s Josh Nodler.
Souliere then gave up a shot from an awful angle, nearly on the goal line with less than 10 seconds to go in the first period.
From that point forward, Souliere settled in and played well, but those two goals were enough for the Spartans to prevail over Penn State.
Similar to the offense, it was a tale of two games for the coaching staff this past weekend.
In game one, Guy Gadowsky and his staff were able to coach their guys to a great team victory after being down 3-1 after two periods.
Penn State had a nice power play that resulted in the game winning goal, dominated the play in the third period and was able to finish their chances.
In game two however, the team began the game with little to no energy and it cost them. They were unable to finish chances and could not convert once on a five minute power play in the third period.
Gadowsky and staff will have to make sure their team is ready to play at the start of each and every period if they want to have a chance at upsetting Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament.
Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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Second Year / Broadcast Journalism