|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
No. 14 Penn State (20-11-4) played a solid game through two periods but fell short late to the Wolverines.
Andrew Sturtz scored his team-leading eighteenth goal of the season to give the Lions an early 1-0 lead. Late in the first period Michigan tied the game at one apiece. Michigan led 2-1 in the third period when a flurry of four goals in five minutes put the game on ice.
Once the game was in hand, late in the third period, players on both sides got chippy. Seven penalties were handed out in the final minutes of the game but no game misconducts, so the teams will have all healthy players available for the final game of the series on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The Lions were short-handed throughout the game due to injuries. At one point in the game Kenny Brooks was moved from forward to defense when Kevin Kerr was injured. It forced the team to play not only with a player out of position, but with only three lines of forwards instead of four.
The loss clinches a third-place finish for Penn State in the final Big Ten regular-season standings. The team only lost one spot in the PairWise rankings as a result, and remains in the hunt for an NCAA tournament at-large bid. It's likely that the Lions will need to win tonight and at least one game in the Big Ten tournament to have even an outside shot at the at-large bid. Realistically the team will probably need to win the next three games for the bid, or three straight in the Big Ten tournament for the league's automatic invitation to the big dance.
Penn State got the scoring started early. Andrew Sturtz scored less than three minutes in on a deflection in front of the net. David Glen shot the puck to the front of the net and it deflected off goalie Steve Racine's stick, then Sturtz, and into the goal.
The teams skated fast and evenly for the next five minutes before Zach Saar was called for the first penalty of the game. Michigan's vaunted power play took the ice looking to tie the game. The Lions were able to kill the penalty but two seconds after it expired, took another penalty and was forced to play short-handed for another two minutes. Again Penn State was able to kill off the penalty and with eight minutes remaining in the first period, play went back to even strength. The Wolverines were only able to muster one shot on goal in four minutes of power play time.
With 4:46 left in the first period Michigan tied the game when Kyle Connor took an errant pass in the Penn State defensive zone and finished with a nasty wrist-shot past Eamon McAdam.
Early in the second period Michigan took a 2-1 lead when Tony Calderone took a Penn State defensive zone turnover and converted it into a goal past McAdam. It was the second time a sloppy clear cost the Lions a goal.
For nearly twenty minutes the teams fought hard but the score did not change. Just 30 seconds into the final period, Kyle Connor scored for the second time on a power play goal. With the Lions trailing 3-1 in the final period, it became clear that it was on the verge of letting a hard-fought game slip away.
Moments later Penn State captain David Glen was whistled for a penalty on a hit that appeared to be clean, but hard. The Lions gave everything it had to keep the game within two goals but ultimately Michigan scored with the man advantage, extending the lead to 4-1 with sixteen minutes left in the game.
The Michigan offense took control at this point, adding goals from Boo Nieves and Justin Selman in the following three minutes to ice the game. Michigan added a late seventh goal on a power play.
Stars of the Game
Kyle Connor, Michigan. Two goals.
Justin Selman, Michigan. Two goals and an assist.
JT Compher, Michigan. Two assists.
Game two, and Penn State's final game of the regular season will commence upon puck drop at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday night.