Men’s Hockey Drops First Game of Weekend Series to Michigan, 7-3
If there’s one thing Penn State hockey has been consistently good at this year, it’s finding new and unique ways to lose. As the Nittany Lions dropped their ninth straight last night to No. 10 Michigan by a score of 7-3, it wasn’t untimely penalties nor defensive mental lapses that ultimately led to their demise. Instead, the goaltending was shaky from start to finish, which prevented Penn State from ever tilting the momentum its way.
Freshman phenom Eamon McAdam got the start for Penn State, but a few questionable early goals were enough to keep the young goalie from getting into a rhythm. J.T. Compher opened the scoring for the Wolverines in the first when a rebound opportunity caught McAdam out of position, leaving a wide open net for Compher. Michigan scored again just three minutes later with a power play goal as Alex Guptill wristed one that ricocheted off the post and past McAdam to put the Wolverines up 2-0.
The Nittany Lions stormed out of the gate in the second, however, as Casey Bailey scored just three minutes into the period. A loose puck in front of the Michigan crease found the stick of Bailey, who backhanded it past Zach Nagelvoort (33 saves, .917 save %) to cut Michigan’s lead to one. A minute later, Eric Scheid slid one past Nagelvoort and suddenly Penn State’s deficit was erased in all of four minutes and the game was tied, 2-2.
The Nittany Lions almost pulled ahead when a Connor Varley shot appeared to cross the goal line after hitting the post, but video evidence proved otherwise. The no-goal seemed to spark the Wolverines, as Andrew Copp beat McAdam with a wrister shortly after to put Michigan ahead 3-2. That was apparently all that Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky needed to see, because he immediately pulled McAdam in favor of P.J. Musico. This ended McAdam’s inconsistent night, giving up three goals on 11 shots.
It was essentially more of the same with Musico in net, as he gave up a goal on the first shot he faced — which was on a breakaway — to give the Wolverines a 4-2 lead. His play improved towards the end of the second period and into the third, but Michael Downing’s third period goal made the game 5-2 and put the game out of reach for the Nittany Lions. Zach Saar scored with five and a half minutes left to make the game somewhat interesting, but the Wolverines responded with two goals in the game’s waining minutes to squash the comeback attempt.
“We obviously got down early which is frustrating, but you got to give the guys full credit for coming back with a lot of pace and tempo,” Gadowsky said after the game. “We hit a turning point and it was hard to come back from there.”
Penn State falls to 4-18-1 on the season, and will take on Michigan again tomorrow at 5 p.m. at Pegula. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.
- David Glen was honored before the game for missing three games to donate bone marrow. “I feel better than I thought I would,” said Glen after the game. “But it’ll take a game or two to get back into it.”
- David Goodwin and Curtis Loik were both absent from the lineup last night, but Gadowsky said at least one of them would play in the game today.
- Obviously, there is no reason to be concerned over McAdam’s performance. He’s made huge saves time and time again this season and for some reason he didn’t have it last night. Look for him to rebound the next time he starts.