In an exciting game Penn State was able to battle back to earn a tie. The game was 2-2 after a five-minute overtime so the ultimate outcome was settled with a shootout. Michigan State won the shootout 1-0. The B1G's unique scoring system awards three points for a win, one point to each team with completion of overtime, and the winning team in the shootout is awarded a second point. Officially the game was a tie but MSU receives two points and PSU received one point.
This was the first game played at Pegula Ice Arena since Halloween when the students were on campus in full force. The atmosphere was electric inside the beautiful arena. Many familiar faces were in attendance. Unofficial PSU hockey human mascot Thor was at the game after recovering from surgery related to spina bifida, a spinal cord condition. Coach Gadowsky took the time to introduce Thor to the student section and they gave the young man a great deal of support. John Buccigross, ESPN anchor and Pittsburgh native took in the game as a fan. Peter Bondra, legendary NHL star, was in the house to cheer on his son David, a red-shirt sophomore for MSU.
The first period of play started with a slight advantage in the Spartan's favor. The visiting team employed a targeted strategy in the neutral zone that made it hard for PSU to set up the high-octane offense. Initially the Lions had trouble getting the puck past the fore-checking efforts of MSU, and as a result there were few scoring attempts for the first fifteen minutes of the game. Each team drew and killed a two minute penalty in the early going.
Ryan Keller broke the ice in the scoring column with a little under four minutes remaining in the period for a Spartan 1-0 lead. A minute later Brent Darnell and Casey Bailey got matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and the teams skated four on four as a result. During this penalty time Eric Scheid was able to tie the game for PSU on an assist from Scott Conway and Luke Juha. Scheid was able to streak ahead of the pack on a breakaway. Initially Hildebrand was able to make the save, but unable to control the rebound, the puck trickled into the goal.
Twenty-six seconds later Michigan State answered with another goal. Villiam Haag scored for the third time on the season for the 2-1 lead. Penn State was able to lead with a 21-10 shot advantage in the period but most of the shots were not difficult for Hildebrand to save.
The Lions made a clear change in strategy after the first period. No longer attempting to skate the puck through the neutral zone, or pass the puck laterally, the team began to dump the puck behind Hildebrand once it crossed the center line. As a result there were many scrums behind the net and the game became very physical.
There was plenty of action but no goals in the period. Casey Bailey took a penalty for a cross-check in front of goalie Eamon McAdam. Had Bailey not taken the penalty, MSU would have had a point-blank shot on an open net.
The final period of regulation hockey was similar to the second period. There was not much statistically to mention until with 8 minutes left David Goodwin tied the game 2-2 on an assist from line-mates Taylor Holstrom and Casey Bailey. The crowd inside Pegula was loud as a result of the goal and the noise would continue into the overtime period. Penn State was able to get nine additional shots on goal after the game-tying goal but Hildebrand was able to turn each attempt aside. The Lions out-shot the Spartans by a tally of 19-8 on the period.
Early in overtime MSU nearly ended the game. McAdam made a tremendous save but the near-goal set the tone for the five-minute extra frame. Play was dominated mostly by Michigan State but there were no goals. Shots were 5-1 in favor of the visiting team. With no scoring in the overtime period, the teams went to a shootout to determine an ultimate winner. Officially the game was a tie.
Eric Scheid took the first attempt for Penn State but was denied by Hildebrand. Michael Farrantino made the first attempt for Sparty but McAdam was up to the task. In round two of the shootout Kenny Brooks was not able to score for PSU but Brent Darnell was able to slip one through McAdam's five-hole for a goal. On the final attempt for Penn State, Casey Bailey was denied by Hildebrand.
- The two teams will play the second game of the series today at 5 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
- The comment section of this article will be used as the open-thread discussion area during the game, come join us if you have anything that you would like to say.
- PSU will be wearing the 'third jersey' tonight for the first time. The design has been a well-kept secret, even the players are not sure what they look like. Let's hope that there's no pink involved. The only hint is in the picture below.