|Shots on Goal
No.6 Michigan had too much offense for the No.15 Nittany Lions. After an evenly played first period, the Wolverines took control in the second period with three unanswered goals. The teams combined for 99 total shots on the night in a game that featured two of the best offenses in college hockey.
The first line for Michigan accounted for five goals and was a force to be reckoned with. Tyler Motte had 2 goals and 3 assists. Kyle Connor had 2 goals and 2 assists. JT Comphor added a goal and an assist from the highest scoring line in the country.
Penn State fought hard for the entire game, but penalties in the third period doomed any hopes at making a comeback. As the game wore on the teams began to get very chippy. Directly following the final whistle, in a game that Michigan won comfortably, a skirmish broke out. Niko Porikos took down the talented freshman Andrew Sturtz, the leading goal scorer for the Lions with a very late hit. This hit and the preceding bad blood displayed by each team throughout the game will set the tone for the next meeting on Saturday.
The teams will play game two of the series in Madison Square Garden. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network at 7 p.m. as part of Big Ten Super Saturday. The Penn State basketball team will take on the Wolverines at noon in MSG as well.
Key Moments In The Game
Five minutes into the game Eric Scheid took a penalty for Penn State and the Wolverines went on the power play. Facing several challenging shots, the Lions were able to kill off the penalty without allowing a goal.
Nine minutes into the game, Tyler Motte pushed a loose bouncing puck past Penn State goalie Matthew Skoff. Skoff was able to make a save on the initial shot but was unable to find the rebound as it fluttered in front of him. Motte dove toward the crease to tip the puck home for the goal.
Penn State went on a power play with nine minutes left in the first period. During the penalty, Motte had a short handed opportunity that forced Skoff to make two difficult saves. The Wolverines were able to kill the penalty.
Using momentum gained with the man advantage the Lions forced the issue in the offensive zone. Chase Berger was able to score for Penn State off the rebound of a Conor Varley shot with just over six minutes left in the first period. The goal was Berger's eleventh of the season.
From Earlier: Berger scores his 11th of the year to tie the game at 1-1 with 6:11 to go in the 1st. Watch: https://t.co/f1npbJQ4yX— Penn State Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) January 29, 2016
Less than a minute later Michigan answered with a goal from Niko Porikos, extending the lead to 2-1.
Vince Pedrie tied the game at two apiece with a fluke goal. Pedrie was intent to dump the puck on net from beyond the blue line as Penn State was about to make a line change. The play was a routine save for Steve Racine but he took his eye off the puck. Instead of gloving the soft shot the puck bounced off the top of his glove and into the net. Michigan challenged the goal, suggesting that Kenny Brooks of Penn State had not made it out of the offensive zone prior to Pedrie sending the puck back into the zone. The referee looked at the play and the goal stood, as a result of the incorrect challenge, Michigan lost its time out.
Early in the second period Kyle Connor scored his 19th goal of the season. He took a great pass from Tyler Motte and finished with a spectacular move on Skoff. Motte made a diving play to tip the assist to the streaking Connor, who then went from the forehand to the backhand then back to the forehand to finish past Skoff. The move was an NHL-caliber play by the freshmen that will be playing in the top level of hockey next season.
Minutes later JT Comphor scored on a great pass from Kyle Connor.
Michigan scored for a third time in the second period when Kyle Connor scored to take the Wolverine lead out to 5-2 with just over six minutes remaining in the period.
The three goal lead didn't last long as Tommy Olczyk scored on a great pass from Matt Mendelson.
With sixteen minutes left in the game, David Thompson was forced to take a penalty, giving the Wolverines a power play with a two goal lead. Thompson had no choice other than to grab Michigan's Kyle Connor who was in front of the open net, poised to score. Just as Penn State was about to kill the penalty, Vince Pedrie was called for running into the goalie, and the Lions were handed another two-minute penalty. Soon after, another penalty was called on the home team and Michigan skated with a 5 on 3 advantage.
The Wolverines took advantage of the two skater advantage when Alex Kile scored to bring the lead out to 6-3.
Tyler Motte extended the lead to 7-3 just moments later. After the goal the Lions replaced Matt Skoff with freshman goalie Chris Funkey. Shortly after Funkey entered the game, Luke Juha trimmed the lead to 7-4 with a nifty move. With just under nine minutes remaining in the game, the crowd inside Pegula Ice Arena once again had hope for a comeback.
With five minutes left in the game and down by three, the Lions went on the power play. Penn State was unable to find the back of the net with the man advantage, and the game ended in disappointment for the home crowd.
Stars of the Game
Tyler Motte, Michigan. 2 goals, 3 assists.
Kyle Connor, Michigan. 2 goals, 2 assists.
Connor Varley, Penn State, 2 assists.