Wild Second Period Dooms Penn State in Loss to Michigan

Story posted February 8, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Zach Lacher

The Nittany Lions entered Friday’s contest in a sold out Pegula Ice Arena with hopes of capturing their first ever Big 10 victory.

However, Hockey Valley’s visiting conference rivals, the No. 10 Michigan Wolverines, had other plans, as they defeated Penn State, 7-3.

Penn State started the game looking like they were feeding off the energy from the energy from the 6,118 fans in attendance, with aggressiveness on the boards and their forecheck.

About halfway through the first period, the Wolverines started to tighten up.

After the puck took an odd bounce off the right corner boards during a scramble, Penn State goaltender Eamon McAdam looked like he was unsure on how to play the puck, which resulted in the first goal of the game on a top shelf wrister, by Michigan’s JT Compher, for his 10th goal of the season.

The Wolverines finished the period with a 2-0 lead, after a penalty on Penn State’s Max Gardiner led to a power play goal by Alex Guptill, on blistering wrist shot from the left slot that beat McAdam high glove side.

Penn State got on the board early in the second period after a scramble in front of the net resulted in a stuff-in by Casey Bailey at 2:59, cutting the Michigan lead to 2-1.

A little over a minute later the Nittany Lions knotted the score at two, when Michigan goaltender Zach Nagelvoort misplayed the puck with his glove, off a shot from the right point and was put in by Penn State’s leader in goals, Eric Sheid at 4:00, for his 11th of the season.

The Wolverines retook the lead after Andrew Copp scored on a shot taken from the blue ine at 5:5, giving Michigan a 3-2 lead.

McAdam was then pulled from goal and replaced by PJ Musico after giving up three goals on eleven shots.

Looking a bit tentative, Musico was beat on the first shot he faced getting beat by Michigan’s Zach Hyman after the Nittany Lions gave Hyman a breakaway opportunity.

However, Musico finished the period strong, stopping the next eight shots he faced.

The Wolverines wore Penn State out in the third period, as they dominated the time of possession in the Nittany Lions zone early in the period.

They finally broke through on a well-placed wrister, from the right circle by defenseman Michael Downing, that just beat PJ Musico low glove side to give Michigan a 5-2 lead at 7:03 into the third.

Penn State responded with a goal by freshman foawrd Zach Saar at 14:29, for his third of the season on a wrister to cut the Nittany Lion deficit to two.

After offsetting roughing penalties to Penn State’s Jonathan Milley and Michigan’s Andrew Sinelli at 16:42, Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky opted to pull Musico to give the Nittany Lions the man-advantage.

It was a decision that ended up backfiring, as Penn State turned the puck over in the neutral zone, which led to a two-on-one opportunity for the Wolverines and led to an easy empty net goal for Michigan’s Zach Hyman. His second goal of the game gave the Wolverines a 6-3 lead.

Andrew Copp helped Michigan further seal the deal, after he tacked on his 2nd goal of the game, which put Michigan up 7-3, with less than two minutes left.

“We got down early which was frustrating, but you have to give the guys full credit for coming back. And coming back with a lot of pace, tempo, and a lot of momentum,” said Gadowsky. “If you take away that (Copp’s) goal I’d be willing to bet the farm that that was not going to be a 7-3 game. It was a big turning point.”

“I think when it comes we’ll gain a lot more confidence. It’s a big battle trying to get that first one and something we all really want and it’s kind of eating away at us right now,” said sophomore forward Casey Bailey. “I think once we get it, it will be a big weight off our shoulders.”

Penn State will look to rebound and capture that elusive first Big Ten victory, as they take on the Michigan Wolverines, in the last game of a two-game set tomorrow at Pegula Ice Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Zachary Lacher is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email zjl5023@psu.edu.