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Penn State Drops Series Opener to Michigan, 4-1

The Nittany Lions losing streak at Yost Ice Arena extended to nine games.

Photo by Heather Weikel

Goals By Period

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

Yost Ice Arena hasn’t been kind to Penn State. The Nittany Lions went into the weekend losers of eight consecutive games at Michigan’s home barn, but were intent on ending that streak this weekend.

On Friday night, that Yost voodoo came back to haunt the Nittany Lions.

The Nittany Lions’ losing streak at Yost reached nine games as the Wolverines topped Penn State 4-1. For all the preparation and focus the Nittany Lions put in this week, the Wolverines put the them on their heels from the opening puck drop.

The formula may be out on how to contain the Nittany Lions vaunted offense, though it is an easy one to figure out. The Wolverines simply out-hustled the Nittany Lions, starting with a forecheck that negated any speed the Nittany Lions tried to build in their attack.

As a result, Guy Gadowsky’s squad couldn’t manage many quality chances on Wolverines’ goalie Strauss Mann, who finished the night with 34 stops.

That constant pressure also forced several turnovers at either blue line from the Nittany Lions. The Wolverines were opportunistic — another characteristic of teams who have bested the Nittany Lions this season — converting on a pair of 2-on-0 rushes.

Peyton Jones did his part to keep the Nittany Lions in the game. The senior netminder stood on his head, stopping 25 of 28 shots before being replaced by Oskar Autio early in the third period.

How It Happened

The Wolverines opened the scoring with a shorthanded tally. After Clayton Phillips bobbled the puck in the neutral zone, the Wolverines broke in on a 2-on-0. Phillips got back to break up a pass, but the puck went right back to Luke Morgan, who chipped a shot past Peyton Jones.

Jones was considerably busier than his counterpart early in the contest as the Nittany Lions were overwhelmed by the Wolverines forecheck. The senior netminder was the main reason the Nittany Lions weren’t trailing by more as he stood on his head.

Midway through the second period, Johnny Beecher doubled the Wolverines lead. As the Wolverines rushed down the ice, Beecher found himself on a short breakaway. The freshman forward slipped a backhand shot through the legs of Jones for his team-leading fifth of the season.

Early in the third period, the Wolverines extended their lead with a power play tally. Left alone at the left circle, Cam York buried his own rebound to put the Wolverines up three. The goal marked the end of the night for Peyton Jones, who was replaced by Oskar Autio after stopping 25 of 28 shots.

In the opposite crease, Strauss Mann stood on his head as the Nittany Lions attempted a comeback, highlighted by an extraordinary post-to-post glove save on Alex Limoges.

With over six minutes remaining, Gadowsky pulled Autio for an extra skater. Shortly thereafter, Jake Slaker hit the empty net to put Michigan up four.