Guy Gadowsky’s hockey team has faced its share of ups and downs since reaching the top spot in the PairWise rankings in early January. A much-needed win on the road in conference play has the team in the No. 9 spot, a secure position for an at-large invitation to the NCAA tournament.
Penn State (19-8-2) dominated the first period but was only able to cash it in for a one goal advantage. Alec Marsh scored on a great pass from Andrew Sturtz from behind the net to give the Lions an early lead. Michigan State tied the game 18 seconds into the second period when Joe Cox made a great individual effort, stealing the puck in the neutral zone and then taking it in on Peyton Jones for the finish. That score held into the final twenty minutes of play.
The lead changed three times in the third period. MSU took a lead that lasted only 13 seconds, as Chase Berger answered in quick fashion on the following shift. Dylan Richard gave the Lions a 3-2 lead with under five minutes left in the game. David Goodwin added a late empty-net goal for the final tally.
The teams will face-off for game two on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The game is being streamed through the Big Ten Network Plus platform.
Penn State got off to a very crisp start, skating with purpose while under control. Vince Pedrie made a couple of tough hits during his second shift on the ice and it seemed to have an energizing effect on the team. Moments later Alec Marsh got the scoring started with a great pass from behind the net by Andrew Sturtz. Kris Myllari started the play by dumping the puck behind the net in a position that gave Sturtz a few options. The Lions got an early 1-0 lead as payment for dominating the first five minutes of play.
The teams skated evenly with few stoppages for the next ten minutes until Myllari was called for boarding, the first penalty of the game. Michigan State was unable to take advantage of the extra skater and the period ended without another score or penalty.
Just 18 seconds into the second period Joe Cox, the senior captain for the Spartans, scored to tie the game. Cox took a turnover in the neutral zone and brought it into the zone, snapping off a nasty wrist shot past PSU goalie Peyton Jones. The goal energized the once-silent crowd inside of Munn Ice Arena and in the following minutes MSU benefited from the home-ice advantage.
For the next five minutes the Spartans held an overall advantage but with 12:55 remaining in the period, the Lions went on their first power-play. Chase Berger hit the post just seconds into the advantage with a quick shot from the slot. That was the only quality scoring chance that Penn State had and the penalty expired. Shortly after, the Spartans made another mistake and once again PSU had a man advantage. The penalty came and went without a scoring chance, the Lions had only 1 shot in four minutes of power-play time.
With 40 seconds left in the period Brett Murray made a strong forecheck move and took the puck from a Michigan State defender. He got off a close-range shot that hit the post, but once again the Lions missed out on another great scoring chance. The teams went to the locker room for the second intermission tied, but it had the feel that Penn State could have been ahead by a couple of goals.
With 12 minutes left in the game the teams were tied at one apiece and the shots in the final period were 5 for Penn State and 4 for MSU. The game for all intents and purposes was as even as it could get.
Rhett Holland got the first lead for the Spartans with under 9 minutes left in the game, 2-1. The feeling of dread wasn’t allowed to linger long enough to take hold for Penn State fans, as Chase Berger answered just 13 seconds later to tie the game at 2.
Michigan State was called for goalie interference shortly after and the Lions had a chance to flip momentum to their side with time getting short on the clock. Andrew Sturtz took a penalty before his team could make the advantage count, and the teams skated 4 on 4 for a minute. Just as the penalty on MSU expired, Holland was called for a shoulder to the head of Vince Pedrie. Penn State had a 4 on 3 power-play with 6:24 left in the game. With time running out in the power-play, Dylan Richard got a goal and 3-2 lead for the Lions. Just 4:33 remained on the clock.
The Lions committed two penalties in the closing minutes while holding a slim 3-2 lead. With under 2 minutes left in the game and Chase Berger in the penalty box, Michigan State called timeout to talk over its attack plan. They pulled the goalie to gain a two-man advantage.
Nate Sucese got the puck across mid-ice and found David Goodwin who put the puck in the open-net to ice the game 4-2.
Stars of the Game
First Star- Alec Marsh, Penn State. One goal and one assist.
Second Star- Andrew Sturtz, Penn State. Two assists.
Third Star- Peyton Jones, Penn State. 26 saves and a win.