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Penn State Drops Series Opener To Michigan, 3-1

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The Nittany LIons have fallen to 0-5 on the season.

Heather Weikel | Black Shoe Diaries

Goals by Period

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

Penn State has made a habit of gifting opposing goalies career-defining performances. For Strauss Mann, however, those performances have become ordinary.

The Michigan goaltender stopped 38 shots as the Nittany Lions fell to the Wolverines 3-1 in Wednesday’s series opener. With the defeat, the Nittany Lions drop to a terribly familiar 0-5 on the season.

The high shot totals in those career nights seldom reflect the quality of those shots. Often, its reflective of Penn State’s shoot-from-anywhere style. Barely across the blue line, right on the goal line, it doesn’t matter. The Nittany Lions just get shots on net.

Things weren’t quite so easy for Mann. The Nittany Lions manufactured their fair share of high-danger shots on Mann. The reigning Big Ten Goaltender of the Year continued his exceptional run of form to start the season.

The Nittany Lions, meanwhile, are still seeking their first win of the season. After falling behind early in the contest, they shook off the stink of last week’s sweep at the hands of Wisconsin to give the No. 7 Wolverines all they could handle.

Still, when the Wolverines pushed their lead to 2-0, it began to feel insurmountable for the Nittany Lions. That has almost never been the case for the Nittany Lions, but further reinforces just how little bite this attack has compared to prior seasons.

How It Happened

The Wolverines opened the scoring early in the first period. Nolan Moyle found some open ice right in front of Oskar Autio and went five hole on the Nittany Lions goalie.

The Wolverines doubled their lead with a power play goal in the second period. Michael Pastujov finished off a remarkable display of puck movement as he dangled around Autio and slid home a backhander.

Evan Bell cut the Wolverines’ lead in half midway through the third period as he finished off a two-on-one with Aarne Talvitie, flipping a shot past Mann’s blocker.

Matty Beniers iced the game for the Wolverines with an empty net goal with under two minutes to play.