Penn State played well on the road this weekend but was unable to come up with a win. Michigan beat the Lions two nights in a row, just a week after becoming the first team to sweep Minnesota on its home ice in the Big Ten era of play. The Wolverines are surging toward the top of national and Big Ten rankings, so the series sweep should not be seen as a letdown for Penn State.
In a game that seemed destined to go Michigan’s way, the Lions scored two late goals and had the puck as time ran out with a chance to tie it up.
Penn State will travel to Wisconsin next weekend for a pair of games before returning to Hockey Valley to face Notre Dame.
The Wolverines were on the board quick with a goal just twenty-six seconds into the game. The early score combined with the momentum that came with it put Penn State on its heels to start the game. The Lions were just beginning to settle down when Andrew Sturtz was sent to the penalty box, giving Michigan the first power-play of the game with twelve minutes left in the opening period.
It didn’t take long for it to pay off for the home team, when Dexter Dancs scored the power-play goal to give the Wolverines a 2-0 lead. In spite of the early deficit the Lions continued to play hard, holding an advantage in shots on goal of 12-10 in the closing minutes of the period when it went on the power-play. The extra skater allowed PSU to gain a couple of shots on goal but no serious scoring chances.
The Lions came out sharp for the second period and Nikita Pavlychev got an open shot in the first minute but was unable to put the puck in the net. A couple of minutes later Penn State went on a power-play. Nate Sucese hit the post with a shot toward a wide-open net and with that the advantage came and went without a score. Shortly after Michigan went on the power-play but did not score.
With five minutes left before the second intermission Penn State held the puck in its offensive zone for nearly two minutes while skating even-strength. The offensive onslaught appeared to be happening with an extra-skater but it was simply a push by Guy Gadowsky’s squad to get on the board. Several quality shots were put on net but nothing went in.
The final period began with a fury for the Lions, which looked poised to score and cut the lead in half. Ten minutes later the advantage remained on the side of Penn State but the puck still had not gone in the net. Trevor Hamilton took a slap shot from mid-ice that handcuffed Michigan goalie Hayden Lavigne. The puck squirted out of his glove and ended up on top of the net, the whistle blew to stop play. It could have just as easily gone into the net instead of on top of it, but it was that type of night for the Lions.
With 7:27 left in the game Penn State had another chance with a power-play. Nate Sucese was hit into the boards hard from behind, and he got up after staying on the ice for a minute. Andrew Sturtz was called for a penalty shortly after, negating the advantage for PSU.
The Wolverines put in a third goal while skating 4 on 4 with just over five minutes to go, icing the game. Guy Gadowsky pulled goalie Peyton Jones, down three goals with four minutes to play. Sturtz missed an open net during this time and it was par for the course, as the Lions missed three open nets and hit one post on the night.
Liam Folkes put a goal in moments later to break the scoreless streak on the weekend for Penn State. Kris Myllari added another and with 45 seconds left to go, the net empty, the Lions were down just one goal. To their credit, the team was able to get another few looks at the game-tying goal, but ultimately fell short 3-2.