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Penn State 5, Michigan State 3: A Series Split Keeps Hope Alive

The NCAA tournament is within reach with a strong finish to the season.

Photo by Heather Weikel


Team 1st 2nd 3rd OT Final
Team 1st 2nd 3rd OT Final
Sacred Heart 0 0 4 x 4
Penn State 2 2 1 x 5

Penn State (17-11-2) took care of business in the second game of the series. It was a much-needed win for the team, which will now be in position to secure a home series in the Big Ten tournament with a solid finish to the season.

Penn State played all but a few minutes of the series without Evan Barratt, who went down with an upper-body injury in game one. Peyton Jones played a great game in net, stopping multiple breakaways, finishing with 27 saves.

The Lions will host Wisconsin next week in what will be the final regular-season home series.

How It Happened

Both teams came out skating sharp but it was Brandon Biro that broke through first. Biro took a pass from Chase Berger and snapped a shot past John Lethemon for a 1-0 lead five minutes in.

Midway through the first period the puck was deflected into the net off Chase Berger’s body. The goal was reviewed and the referees decided to overturn the goal although it did not appear that Berger used his hands or feet to direct the puck in. A minute later Michigan State tied the game off a defensive turnover by the Lions.

The Lions went on the first power-play of the night with 8 minutes left in the opening period, holding an advantage in shots on goal of 14-5. Nikita Pavlychev put back shot on net and Ludvig Larsson put the rebound in for a 2-1 lead.

Michigan State turned on the heat at the end of the period, holding PSU without a shot for the final five minutes. Peyton Jones stopped a near-breakaway and a couple of other scoring chances to hold the one-goal lead at the first break.

The teams skated 4 on 4 early in the next period and late during the penalties the Lions were called for another, giving MSU a 5 on 4 chance, which they cashed in. Cody Milan beat Jones before he could cross the net.

Penn State attacked the net, getting three shots on one possession. Finally Paul DeNaples scored the first goal of his college career during a delayed penalty to give the Lions a 3-2 lead and then a power-play.

Kris Myllari scored to extend the lead to 4-2 with 6:30 to go in the second period. Myllari is the all-time leader in goals scored by a Penn State defenseman.

For the next twenty minutes the teams skated evenly, end to end. With 7:42 to play in the game, Alec Marsh took a tripping penalty and Michigan State had a chance to cut into the lead with the 12th best power-play unit in the country. Peyton Jones made a great save to keep the Spartans off the board early in the penalty but with 13 seconds left, MSU scored to cut the lead to 4-3.

With 2:23 Sam Sternschein had a chance to score and it led to a Michigan State penalty. Nate Sucese added an empty-net goal as the penalty expired.