Series Grades: Penn State vs. Michigan
Nothing went the way of Penn State on the ice this past weekend as it looked completely outmatched after being swept by No. 2 Michigan.
Against one of the most talented teams in the country, the Nittany Lions lost 5-1 in game one and 6-2 in game two as nothing seemed to work during the weekend.
As the blue and white now drop to 0-4 to open up conference play, let’s take a look at how each position group played during the two-game series.
Against one of the top defenses in the country, which includes the recent number one overall pick from this year’s NHL draft by the Buffalo Sabres in Owen Power, three goals in two games is a respectable total but not enough to win games in college hockey.
Despite outshooting the Wolverines in both games, goals were hard to come by for the Nittany Lions with Erik Portillo locking things down in net.
Ben Copeland scored the lone goal in the opening game and he scored the second goal in game two alongside Connor McMenamin who kicked things off in that game.
Offensively, things have been tough for the Nittany Lions ever since the start of conference play and the road will get even tougher next week as they travel to face the reigning Big Ten Tournament champions in Minnesota.
This one is pretty simple.
The Wolverines have one of the most talented rosters in college hockey so keeping them off the scoresheet for a full 60 minutes is tough but giving up 11 goals in two games is never going to cut it.
Matty Beniers, who was the second overall pick by the Seattle Kraken right behind Power in the NHL Draft, shined during the weekend with two goals in the opening game and had another one in game two.
Luke Hughes was the fourth overall pick in that same draft going to the New Jersey Devils and he had two goals in game two.
Even the defensemen Power was able to find the back of the net in game two and had five assists during the weekend.
Similar to the defense grade, there’s not much that can be done against the talent that Michigan has.
However, whether it was Oskar Autio or Liam Souliere manning the net for Penn State, no one could get it done during the weekend.
Autio got the nod in game one and only saved 19 shots while giving up five goals in the loss for what was his second in a row and brought his record to 4-3 on the year.
In an interesting decision, Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky chose to roll with his backup goaltender in Souliere for the potential redemption game and the result was more of the same.
Souliere saved 27 shots while giving up six goals in the loss as it was the sophomore goaltender’s second straight loss, which evens up his record to 2-2 on the year.
This series is a huge wakeup call for the Penn State program.
Despite holding that No. 19 ranking coming in, the Nittany Lions were nowhere near the level of the Wolverines this weekend and they will have a ton of work to do headed into their next series against Minnesota.
It didn’t seem like there were many adjustments made during the games from Gadowsky and if there were, they didn’t seem to have much of an impact on the overall outcome.
Logan Bourandas is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Third-Year / Broadcast Journalism