Last time Penn State and Michigan took the ice at Madison Square Garden, the Wolverines’ CCM line stole the spotlight.
When the two teams met again at the world’s most famous arena on Saturday, the stage belonged to the Nittany Lions’ top line.
The trio of Evan Barratt, Alex Limoges and Liam Folkes combined for six points as the Nittany Lions topped the Wolverines 5-1, snapping a four-game losing streak for the blue and white.
Barratt led the charge with three points, including a dominant first period in which he opened the scoring and forced a turnover that led to Folkes’ lone goal of the contest. Limoges, meanwhile, picked up a pair of goals, including a brilliant individual effort on a shorthanded goal midway through the second period.
While the Nittany Lions went up 3-0 in the opening 20 minutes, they more than likely felt fortunate to be in such a position. The Wolverines outshot the Nittany Lions 22-8 in that opening period and hit four posts.
While Barratt provided the spark Penn State needed in the first, Jones proved to be the calming presence in goal. Those 22 saves in the first were a career-high for the junior netminder and tied Eamon McAdam’s program record for saves in a period.
The second period was a reversal in shot output but remained true in goal fortune. The Nittany Lions pumped 17 shots on net to the Wolverines seven and outscored the maize and blue 2-1 in the middle frame, effectively putting the game out of reach through 40 minutes.
The Wolverines made up a goal early in the third, but the Nittany Lions shut the door the rest of the way on the strength of 35 saves by Jones — and some more help from the iron.
How It Happened
After the two teams traded chances in an up-tempo start, Evan Barratt opened the scoring for the Nittany Lions. Barratt jumped on a loose puck as the Wolverines tried to break out of their zone and fired a shot from the slot past Hayden Lavigne.
Midway through the period, Barratt had a hand as the Nittany Lions doubled their lead. Barratt picked the pocket of Wolverines’ star defenseman Quinn Hughes and fed Liam Folkes on a short breakaway. Folkes made a quick move on Lavigne and slid the puck past the goalie’s pad.
Later in the period, the Nittany Lions went up three shortly after killing a penalty. As the Wolverines were applying pressure, Alec Marsh snuck between the two defenseman and took a Nikita Pavlychev outlet pass on a breakaway from his own blue line. Rather than make a move like Folkes did, Marsh fired a quick wrist shot through the legs of Lavigne.
Early in the second period, Alex Limoges added another for the Nittany Lions. Fresh out of the box, Barratt picked up the puck in the high slot and fired a low shot off Lavigne’s pad. The rebound kicked out to Limoges, who tapped the puck into an open net.
A few minutes later, the Wolverines broke through the wall that was Peyton Jones. After Quinn Hughes wheeled around the attacking zone, his high shot was knocked down by Jones. The rebound fell to Luke Morgan, who slid a shot into the back of the net.
Midway through the period, the Nittany Lions shorthanded prowess continued from the previous weekend. As Quinn Hughes skated up the ice, he attempted a drop pass to a teammate. Alex Limoges read the play like a book, intercepting the pass and breaking in on Lavigne. Limoges outwaited the Wolverines goalie and buried his second of the game.
Early in the third period, Will Lockwood brought the Wolverines within three as he buried a one timer past Jones.