No. 11 Penn State finished out its regular season against Michigan at Yost tonight. Some bad Nittany Lion luck and stellar Michigan goaltending gave the Wolverines a 4-0 win and kept Penn State off the scoreboard the entire night. The Penn State’s 21-11-2 record on the regular season is No. 4 in the Big Ten.
How It Happened
The first was characterized by some bad Nittany Lion luck. Vince Pedrie almost struck first from the point seven minutes into the game, but David Goodwin was (very questionably) called for goalie interference when a Wolverine pushed him into Zach Nagelvoort. Michigan’s Adam Winborg collected a rebound out in front for the first goal of the game 12:06 into the period. Andrew Sturtz found the back of the net but Trevor Hamilton’s helmet came off simultaneously resulting in a whistle and no-goal.
Penn State dominated on every front except the scoreboard for the first half of the second — a consistent edge in shots and face offs just couldn’t get past Nagelvoort. By the 7:30 mark, Penn State had 19 shots on the period while Michigan had 3. Penn State’s 5-on-3 opportunity didn’t produce anything despite consistent pressure and a few solid chances. It felt like if the Nittany Lions could just keep this tempo up, they’d soon get an equalizer and steal the lead. Penn State wasn’t able to make Nagelvoort scramble, though, and the second period was scoreless despite a 36-13 Nittany Lion shot advantage.
Penn State killed off Pavlychev’s penalty in the early seconds of the third, but Smirnov put it right back on the penalty kill on a tripping call. I tried embarrassingly hard to make a joke about Russia here but nothing felt right. Tony Calderone, who essentially won the game for Michigan the night before, capitalized on the power play to double Michigan’s lead 2-0 2:14 into the period. Penn State’s momentum from the second subsided throughout the first half of the third. Nagelvoort’s consistently outstanding goaltending kept a few chances (most notably from Sturtz) out of the net. Winborg’s second of the net sealed the deal for Michigan, and an ensuing empty netter finalized the 4-0 win for Michigan.
- Whoever runs BTN Student U: If you’re reading this, please, for the love of God, stop letting your announcers dish out hot takes and blatant untrue things on air. I understand they’re just students, but so am I! At the very least, we all have Google to factcheck. Everyone makes mistakes; I make them all the time — but this wasn’t that. Just listen to footage of these past two games and you will understand why I had to physically turn the volume off and find the Penn State broadcast. I preferred listening to that, which wasn’t even remotely in synch with the video I was watching, over the accompanying broadcast. If casual fans were listening to this they’ll walk away with false knowledge and that’s a shame. Shout out to Brian Tripp and Tim King for being on point as usual. Deep breaths.
- What a game for Nagelvoort. One of the most crucial things he did was deny Penn State of one of its biggest weapons — the rebound. Nagelvoort generally made sure to snatch the puck up after shots and keep it away from anyone hanging around the net. He was pretty much every good goalie cliche you can think of tonight. That paired with Penn State’s bad luck won this for Michigan.
- Ohio State is on pace to win tonight and sweep Wisconsin. This means Penn State is now the No. 4 seed and will meet Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament opener. I don’t know how they’ll do this, but the Nittany Lions will have to stay out of their own heads this week.
Penn State heads to Detroit to battle for an NCAA Tournament bid and conference bragging rights at the Big Ten Tournament next weekend. We’ll keep you updated when the seeding and schedule come out.