Penn State followed through to sweep the series against Michigan State on the road Saturday night with a 4-1 victory. The Nittany Lions dominated from the start, holding the Spartans off until a third period goal.
How It Happened
Freshman Nate Sucese recorded a pair of goals in the first period to help the Nittany Lions to an early lead, first on a tap in from the left side of the net thanks to captain David Goodwin. Just a few minutes later, Denis Smirnov bested Michigan State goaltender Ed Minney at the left shoulder on a power play. Sucese fired it in yet again late in the period to increase Penn State’s lead to 3-0 after an odd-man rush pass from Brandon Biro.
The Nittany Lions sealed the deal in this game by suppressing three power play opportunities for Michigan State and leaving the Spartans almost no opportunity for quality scoring chances. Michigan State’s only score of the night came in the third period when Villiam Haag backhanded the puck past Penn State goaltender Peyton Jones on a rebound. This put the Spartans on the board 3-1 with 9:22 left to play.
Sophomore Andrew Sturtz capped the scoring with a rebound goal, securing the 4-1 victory for the Nittany Lions.
Player of the Game
Denis Smirnov’s power play goal marked his 40th point as a freshman. He’s now tied with Casey Bailey for most points in a single season — with four more games left for the Nittany Lions in regular season play.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. next Friday in Pegula against Wisconsin for this season’s final home series. Saturday’s faceoff is Senior Night for the Nittany Lions as they take on the Badgers at 8 p.m. on American Sports Network.