Goals By Period
For a moment, Evan Barratt was the hero once again. With time winding down in the third period and Oskar Autio on the bench for the extra attacker, Barratt found a loose puck and swung a backhand shot past Strauss Mann.
Aside from sending Pegula Ice Arena into a frenzy, the goal leveled Saturday’s game against Michigan with a little more than a minute to play. After a scoreless period of overtime, the goal secured the tie and a point in the Big Ten standings.
Then came the second overtime period.
In the dying seconds of the 3-on-3 session, Barratt began heading for the bench for a line change. At the same moment, Garrett Van Wyhe received a stretch pass near the Penn State blue line with no one between him and Autio.
Barratt altered course and raced toward Van Wyhe, but to no avail. Van Wyhe fired a wrist shot past Autio’s blocker, giving the Wolverines the extra point in the Big Ten standings.
While the tie doesn’t negatively affect Penn State on the national scale, dropping points at home against a Michigan team that was in the bottom half of the Big Ten standings coming into the weekend will be a tough pill to swallow for the Nittany Lions.
“When you’re down a goal with a couple minutes to go, that tie feels really good from a national standpoint,” coach Guy Gadowsky said.
From a Big Ten standpoint, however, dropping five out of six points against the Wolverines combined with other conference results has pushed the Nittany Lions down to third in the conference, two points behind conference leader Ohio State and one point behind Michigan State. The Spartans were in the midst of closing out their series against Wisconsin when the final horn sounded at Pegula Ice Arena.
While Gadowsky can take comfort in the fact that Penn State is in a comfortable position in the national tournament race, there is concern that he feels the team needs to hit the reset button this late in the season.
“It surprised us to have that feeling, that we’re so low at that point. I’ve got to be honest, that was a difficult one to swallow,” he said.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions took advantage of early penalty trouble from the Wolverines to open the scoring. On a 5-on-3 power play, the puck fell to Liam Folkes, standing at the side of the net. Folkes hammered a shot past Strauss Mann for Penn State’s first goal of the weekend.
Early in the second period, Nate Sucese doubled the Nittany Lions’ lead, lifting a backhand shot into the top corner as Mann slid out of his crease.
Just a minute and a half later, Nolan Moyle cut the Nittany Lions lead in half. After Jacob Hayhurst chased down a dump in, he found Moyle in the slot. The latter’s shot seemingly changed direction on Autio, who was beat between the legs.
Midway through the period, Nick Granowicz leveled the game for the Wolverines, tipping a shot from Will Lockwood past Autio.
Late in the period, Evan Barratt put the Nittany Lions back in front. After deflecting a point shot from Kris Myllari, Barratt found his own rebound and knocked the puck into the net.
Early in the third period, the Wolverines once again leveled the contest. After an offensive zone turnover by the Nittany Lions, Jacob Hayhurst found space in the slot in front of Autio. Hayhurst fired a wrist shot over the goalie’s glove to even the game at three.
A few minutes later, Granowicz gave the Wolverines the lead with his second goal of the night. Granowicz was left alone in front of Autio and snuck a shot through the goalie’s legs.
With time winding down and Autio on the bench for the extra attacker, Barratt leveled the game for the Nittany Lions, sending a backhand shot past Mann.