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No. 2 Penn State Hockey Sweeps Michigan In B1G Series Opener

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The Lions head into the break in great shape.

Photo By Heather Weikel

Scoring Summary

Goals First Period Second Period Third Period Final Score
Penn State 3 0 2 5
Michigan 1 0 0 1
Period Time Team Type Goal Assist
1 3:49 Penn State EV James Robinson Zach Saar/Vince Pedrie
1 4:50 Michigan EV Cutler Martin Max Shuart/Luke Martin
1 17:03 Penn State PP Trevor Hamilton David Goodwin/Kevin Kerr
1 18:20 Penn State EV Denis Smirnov Trevor Hamilton/Dylan Richard
3 0:24 Penn State PP Andrew Sturtz Vince Pedrie/Erik Autio
3 4:39 Penn State EV Brandon Biro Kris Myllari/Denis Smirnov
Shots On Goal First Period Second Period Third Period Final Score
Penn State 24 16 18 58
Michigan 10 10 3 23

Penn State entered the game as one of the enigmas on the college hockey scene this year. While the success of the team got the attention of those interested around the country, it was uncertain how the Lions would respond to the challenge of greater competition in Big Ten play.

After a series sweep versus the Wolverines, and a 13-1-1 record heading into a break that will have the Lions idle until January 6, it is certain that Penn State will have the respect of the college hockey community.

The team will be ranked in the top 5 of both voter polls, and will be in the top 3 in the PairWise rankings, heading into the holiday break. The respect that the Nittany Lions are now receiving from its peers is the final step in becoming a force on the scene of college hockey. Hockey Valley is now a destination for top talent. Pegula Ice Arena is a daunting presence for visiting teams.

In the early-going of the game the teams skated evenly but by the end of the first period Penn State took control.

After a goal was scored for each team, the Lions took a two goal lead into the first intermission as Trevor Hamilton and Denis Smirnov found the back of the net.

The second period featured a lot of hitting but no scoring. The final period was all Penn State, as the Lions scored two early goals and held on for the easy win.

Penn State will not play again until it travels to Columbus, Ohio to take on the Buckeyes on January 6.

Game Summary

The first period got off to a quick start, continuing the pace the teams kept on Thursday night. James Robinson scored just four minutes into the game and it appeared that Penn State was poised to dominate action for a second straight night. Vince Pedrie made a long, looping pass to a streaking Zach Saar, who got off a solid shot that Michigan goalie Jack LaFontaine was not able to hold onto. Robinson swooped in late to finish the play.

Michigan didn’t let that good feeling linger for very long, as Cutler Martin poked a shot past Penn State goalie Peyton Jones to tie the game just one minute later.

The teams had an uneven flow for the first fifteen minutes of the opening period. Penn State had the edge for the first five minutes, then Michigan had the advantage for the next five, and then both teams went into a funk for the next five minutes, with many stoppages and icing calls. The final five minutes of the opening period belonged to the Lions. The pace the team played with made it hard for Michigan to keep up, and Joseph Cecconi was forced to take a tripping penalty to avoid a Denis Smirnov open breakaway. Penn State converted on the ensuing power play when Trevor Hamilton scored for the second straight night.

Not to be turned away, Smirnov scored moments later on a breakaway with just two minutes left in the first period. The goal gave the Lions a comfortable 3-1 lead after twenty minutes.

The second period did not see very much scoring but there was a great deal of hitting. The teams went back and forth and at times, the hitting bordered on over-the-top behavior. At the end of the period Peyton Jones was hit unnecessarily behind the net on a routine play. Nikita Pavlychev took exception to the offense by Michigan and he immediately came to Jones’ defense, taking on any Wolverine that happened to be nearby.

Pavlychev and Zach Saar were given penalties for the interaction. Three Michigan players were given two-minute penalties and as a result the Lions had a man advantage.

The next time down the ice Michigan lost its composure once again when Griffin Luce lost his temper after the whistle and got a roughing penalty with just four seconds left in the period. As a result, the Lions started the final period with a five on three advantage on the ice.

Andrew Sturtz scored early in the third period to put the dagger in the hearts of the Wolverines. Brandon Biro added another goal for Penn State to take the lead to 5-1 with fifteen minutes remaining in the game. The teams skated with cooler heads for the final minutes of the game as the outcome was clearly decided.

Stars of the Game

Denis Smirnov, Penn State- One goal and one assist.

Vince Pedrie, Penn State- Two assists.

Peyton Jones, Penn State- 22 saves and a win.