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Penn State Hockey Falls to Michigan State 4-2

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The Nittany Lions’ NCAA Tournament hopes dwindled a bit more in the Friday night loss to the Spartans.

Photo by Heather Weikel

Goals

Team 1st 2nd 3rd OT Final
Team 1st 2nd 3rd OT Final
Penn State 1 0 1 x 2
Michigan State 2 1 1 x 4

Heading into the weekend, Penn State was poised to solidify a position in the NCAA Tournament. All the Nittany Lions had to do was take care of business against a struggling Michigan State squad that had just four conference wins this season.

Instead, the Spartans played spoiler to the Lions, beating Guy Gadowsky’s squad 4-2 Friday night. The loss likely pushes the Lions further to the outside of the Tournament bubble and ups the pressure for the remaining three games of the Lions regular season.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions got off to a rough start. Just over two minutes into the contest, Brady Stevens opened the scoring for the Spartans. As the freshman forward skated down the right wing, he fired a quick wrist shot that snuck through the legs of Jones.

Just a few minutes later the Lions responded. After Denis Smirnov’s wrist shot bounced off the lively boards of Munn Ice Arena, Sucese gathered the puck and quickly wristed a shot over John Lethemon.

The Spartans did not wait long to respond. Just over three minutes after Sucese’s tying goal, Mitchell Lewandowski capitalized on a nifty feed by Patrick Khodorenko. As Khodorenko made his way behind the Lions’ goal, he spun a pass the opposite direction to Lewandowski, who lifted a shot past a fooled Jones.

After a quiet start to the middle frame, Lewandowksi doubled the Spartans’ lead with just over five minutes to play in the second period, capitalizing just six seconds into a kneeing penalty to Trevor Hamilton.

As the final 20 minutes of the game wound down, the Lions upped their pressure to climb back into the contest. With just over three minutes remaining, Nikita Pavlychev jammed in a rebound to bring the Lions within a goal.

The comeback was ended there, however, as Taro Hirose hit an empty net a minute and a half later to restore the Spartans two-goal lead and put the game away.