Penn State men’s hockey (8-7-0, 3-4-0) took on Michigan State (7-6-0, 1-4-0) in Happy Valley on Friday night. A big crowd came out to Pegula to see the Nittany Lions trounce the Spartans in a 7-2 blowout as strong play from Peyton Jones in goal and a breakout offensive performance put the visitors away early.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions came out firing. Assistant captain and defenseman Erik Autio wasn’t in the lineup due to injury, but the rest of the team didn’t seem to be too affected by that absence. Kris Myllari gave Penn State an early 1-0 lead just one minute into the game. Just a minute and 13 seconds later, Andrew Sturtz found Evan Barratt in front of net to extend the Penn State lead to two goals.
Taro Hirose got one back for the Spartans 7:35 into the opening period, but Liam Folkes responded 49 seconds with yet another goal for Penn State – this time, Limoges tallied the assist. The Nittany Lions didn’t stop there, as – with just 1:58 remaining – Trevor Hamilton found Sternschein who’d broken away and slotted one past the Michigan State goalie.
Michigan State’s Letheman in goal lasted just 8:24 before being pulled for Ed Minney.
Penn State came out of the gates quickly yet again, as Sam Sternschein tallied his second goal of the night to extend the lead to four goals. With 7:15 remaining in the second period, Brennan Sanford was alone on the break and beat Peyton Jones through the 5-hole to bring the score to 5-2.
Liam Folkes made it 6-2 with another goal after flying down the right wing and firing a laser past Minney in goal just inside of the far post. Other than giving up three breakaways in the opening two periods, Penn State looked fantastic.
With just 11:13 remaining in the game, James Robinson and Butrus Ghafari were given coincidental penalties after getting into it after the whistle, and Robinson was given a double minor for roughing. 21 seconds later, Nikita Pavlychev was penalized as well. Michigan State skated with a 5-3 advantage, but Penn State was able to kill off both penalties with an exceptional penalty kill.
With 5:58 remaining in the game, Andrew Sturtz slotted a pass from Chase Berger away to make it 7-2. The Nittany Lions sailed through the rest of play, taking the first game of the series with ease.
Player of the Game
Sam Sternschein | Freshman | Foward
The young forward broke out on Friday night, netting a goal at the end of the first period and again just 53 seconds into the second period. Even when he wasn’t scoring, Sternschein was finding his way into dangerous positions and wreaking havoc upon the Michigan State defense.
Penn State will finish off the series against Michigan State on Saturday night at 8 p.m.