When facing the kind of talent gap Penn State was up against this week, you have to take advantage of any opportunity you get.
When you have seven first round picks on your roster, it makes being opportunistic a heck of a lot easier.
The Nittany Lions couldn’t do that this week. The Wolverines could. That’s why the Wolverines are heading home now with a double-digit win total while the Nittany Lions have been swept for the second-straight weekend after Friday’s 6-2 defeat.
Scoring By Period
That opportunistic gap was perfectly captured in a sequence that led to Michigan’s game-winning-goal.
Tyler Paquette got behind the defense for a breakaway on Erik Portillo. Paquette had his stick lifted from behind before he could get a shot off. Seconds later, he was tagged for a tripping call. On the ensuing power play, Matty Beniers redirected a pass by Liam Souliere.
There isn’t really a metric for opportunism, but special teams are a good starting point. Those, naturally, weighed heavily in Michigan’s favor.
The Wolverines only went 3-for-7 on the man advantage over the two games, but held Penn State’s power play in check. The Nittany Lions went 1-for-9 with the man advantage, scoring only on their very last power play of the weekend.
In Friday’s contest, the Nittany Lions failed to capitalize on a five-minute power play in the opening period, and scored just moments after a two-man advantage ended in the third.
How It Happened
Midway through the first period, the Wolverines opened the scoring on one of the more unconventional goals you’ll see. Liam Souliere had trouble controlling a slow-rolling dumped-in puck, and Brendan Brisson made him pay, lifting a backhand shot past Souliere.
In the opening minute of the second period, the Nittany Lions leveled the game. After a point shot by Kenny Johnson trickled through the crowd, Connor McMenamin knocked the puck into an open net.
Just a couple minutes later, the Wolverines reclaimed the lead. Luke Hughes jumped into the rush, sliced up the middle of the Penn State defense, and lifted a shot under the crossbar.
Midway through the period, the Wolverines doubled their lead with a power play goal. After the Nittany Lions blocked a few shots in a row, Matty Beniers redirected a pass by Souliere.
Near the end of the period, the Wolverines further extended their lead. Thomas Bordeleau gathered the puck near the point, worked his way to the middle of the ice, and blasted a shot top corner.
Early in the third, the Wolverines added another. After a scramble in front of Souliere, Owen Power whipped a shot past the goaltender’s blocker.
Midway through the period, the Nittany Lions got one back on the power play, as Ben Copeland knocked home the rebound of a Ryan Kirwan one timer.
Whatever momentum that gave Penn State was short-lived. Just 36 seconds later, Hughes potted his second of the night, picking the top corner on Souliere.