Penn State hockey traveled to Michigan State to start the six-game Big Ten stretch that’ll end its regular season. The Spartans fought through a slow first period to hold their own in the second, but Penn State came out on top of a must-win with a 4-2 victory.
How It Happened
The first period was pretty slow, with only 11 total shots on goal. Penn State had the 9-2 advantage. Alec Marsh had the lone goal of the period — he capitalized on an Andrew Sturtz assist to make it 1-0 at 3:14.
Joe Cox tied it up for the Spartans just 18 seconds into the second. Penn State got its first power play opportunity 7:05 into the second as Cox was called for roughing, but Michigan State killed it off. Penn State got right back on the power play and got zero shots off as Michigan State killed it off again. The Spartans woke up in the second. Much more even play from them kept it 1-1 through the period. Michigan State’s freshman goalie held onto rebounds Penn State would typically bury.
Vince Pedrie’s fourth shot of the night was the best chance through the beginning of the third, but no dice. Michigan State’s Rhett Holland broke through a quiet few minutes to steal a 2-1 lead for the Spartans, then Chase Berger answered 13 seconds later with the equalizer. Penn State’s momentum extended with a power play at 7:52 left to play — Sturtz gave us some 4-on-4 hockey, then Michigan State took another penalty for some elusive 4-on-3. The Spartans killed one off but it wasn’t enough — Dylan Richard tapped one in late on the 4-on-4 off a beautiful Pedrie pass and some rebounds to make it 3-2 Penn State with 4:33 left to play.
Michigan State pulled its goalie and attempted to capitalize on some 6-on-4 play, but Penn State captain David Goodwin finished scoring with just 30 seconds left to play.
Player Of The Game
It has to be Chase Berger. His equalizer kept the Nittany Lions in a game they probably should’ve been winning. “Momentum” can seem like a myth, but the timing of his goal was important. Defenseman Vince Pedrie’s tenacious offensive play also put Penn State in some of its best positions to score all night, and gave Richard his game-winner.
Penn State and Michigan State are back at Munn to finish out their series tomorrow night.