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Penn State Hockey Loses In Shutout Fashion In East Lansing

Leaving the state of Pennsylvania for the first time in more than two months didn’t end well for No. 19 Penn State Friday night. In a game that was decided by goaltending, Michigan State prevailed 3-0. Spartan goalie Jake Hildebrand stood on his head to earn the shutout, while P.J. Musico was handed Penn State’s first regulation loss over the last nine games.

How It Happened

The first period was a bit of an uncharacteristic one for the Nittany Lions. Penn State has a reputation for racking up shots and scoring goals, but the team was held scoreless in the frame. However, P.J. Musico’s scorching play of late kept up, and the Spartans weren’t able to score either.

About halfway through the period, Michigan State found itself with an open corner and rifled a shot on net. Musico, who was slightly out of position, had the shaft of his stick in the perfect place to deflect the puck away. That ended up being the best chance of the period for either side, and it came to an end with Michigan State leading in shots, 14-9.

Having consistently outplayed Penn State in the first period, the Spartans came out of the dressing room looking to claim a lead they thought they deserved. Sure enough, halfway through the stanza, Mackenzie MacEachern buried a soft Musico rebound to start the scoring. Less than three minutes later, J.T. Stenglein scored to put his team ahead 2-0.

Penn State was only able to muster four shots in the period while Michigan State totaled eight. The four shots on goal was the lowest total the Nittany Lions took in any period this season.

Two minutes into the third period, Eric Scheid forced a turnover at Penn State’s blue line and rushed down the ice on a breakaway, but a toe save by Hildebrand maintained the shutout.

Scheid would continue to get opportunities throughout the frame, but he couldn’t will his team to score. Despite its best period of the game, Penn State would never find the back of the net, and once Matt DeBlouw blasted a shot past Musico to make the score 3-0, the game was over.

Player of the Game

Michigan State’s Jake Hildebrand. Penn State hadn’t lost a game in shutout fashion since last January, and his efforts were outstanding in this game.

Tweet of the Game

Yeah, it was that kind of game.

Takeaways

  • The first two goals came courtesy of plays after a turnover. Michigan State was forechecking hard all night, and it paid off when it forced Penn State’s defensemen to continually surrender the puck.
  • Despite having four powerplay opportunities, Penn State never capitalized. The Spartans boast the top penalty killing unit in the Big Ten, but the Lions’ offense could have certainly used the support.
  • After going a nation-best 6-0-2 in its last eight games, Penn State was handed a rare regulation loss, far away from home.

What’s Next?

The two teams will conclude their series Saturday at 3 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

About the Author

Doug Leeson

Doug is a sophomore and Onward State's Assistant Managing Editor. Dislikes: popcorn, Rutgers, and a low #TimberCount. Likes: "Frozen," Rec Hall, and you. Contact him via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @DougLeeson.

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