Men’s Hockey Falls To Michigan 7-4 In Front Of White Out Crowd
Coming off a series split with the Ohio State Buckeyes and in front of a lively White Out crowd, No. 15 Penn State men’s hockey (16-6-3, 6-3-0-0- B1G) faced off against its biggest conference rival in No. 6 Michigan (15-3-4, 6-1-2-1 B1G). The two teams have a rugged storied past, and it came as no surprise that a lot of action and banter after the whistles were themes throughout the contest. Unfortunately, the Wolverines ended up being too much for Penn State to handle, as they pounded the Lions 7-4.
How It Happened
David Goodwin created some space on a promising breakaway chance as soon as the first frame started, initiating an already high-energy atmosphere in Pegula. The Roar Zone was rocking, and it was clear the Nittany Lions were feeling it. The maddening speed both teams possessed had them flying zone-to-zone every 10 seconds, and it led to another charge by Goodwin that rang off the Michigan post. The Lions were swarming the Wolverines’ defensive zone ferociously.
After a burst of Penn State shots, Eric Scheid got rung up on a hooking call at the 14:53 minute mark, shifting momentum slightly in Michigan’s favor. Scheid’s slight setback put his team on the penalty kill, and the Wolverines came back hungry on the attack. Tyler Motte tapped in a bouncing puck in front of the Penn State net, notching his 19th goal of the season, and gave Michigan the go-ahead goal with 11 minutes left in the opening period.
A few minutes after the goal, Michael Downing got nailed on a hooking call of his own, and Penn State went on its first man-advantage of the night. The Nittany Lions rushed back after Wolverines killed the penalty, and in the midst of many breaks, Chase Berger finally slid the puck past Steve Racine and tied the game up at one. It marked Berger’s 11th goal on the year. The tally didn’t hinder Michigan at all, and right off of a faceoff Niko Porikos scored to give back the Wolverines one-goal favor. It definitely caught Skoff by surprise.
With just one minute remaining the first, Vince Pedrie got lucky after his shot bobbled off the hands of Michigan’s goaltender right into his own net. Michigan challenged the play, but lost, and The Roar Zone erupted with even harsher than usual “It’s all your fault!” chants as Pegula started rolling once again. The period ended with Alec Marsh getting penalized for holding, and the score stayed tied 2-2.
Period two picked right back off with frenzied action, but a fancy deke-and-score by Kyle Connor immediately quieted Hockey Valley. The Wolverines gained back their lead at 3-2 in less than five minutes.
The pace slowed down quite a bit, just enough for JT Compher and Kyle Connor to put away a pair of Michigan goals. Shots were tied at 29 apiece, but the Wolverines were the ones executing on great chances. At 5-2, the atmosphere was dead silent, and Michigan was rolling. The third period seemed very long off.
Tommy Olczyk had other plans. A beautiful hesitation drag allowed for a tiny seam to open up above Racine’s right shoulder, and Olczyk buried a rocket top-shelf at what seems like his favorite spot. The Nittany Lions scratched their way back to a two-goal deficit, trailing 5-3.
Third period hockey opened with a couple great offers by Dylan Richard and Alec Marsh, but the Nittany Lions came up empty yet again. A minute went by before David Thompson got sent to the box for holding, followed by another pair of Lions getting time in the sin bin: DeRosa for checking from behind and Pedrie for roughing the goaltender. This gave the Wolverines a 5-on-3 advantage, and let to a power play goal by Alex Kile.
In less than five minutes, Michigan continued to pour it on off the stick of Tyler Motte. However, though the Lions looked deflated, Luke Juha ripped a shot from the high slot to give his team new life with 8:38 remaining in the game, and lessened the burden. But it wasn’t enough, as Penn State fell 7-4 to the talented Wolverines.
Player Of The Game
Luke Juha | Defenseman | Senior
Alternate captain and Hobey Baker Award nominee Luke Juha earned the game’s top honor for his mix of strong defensive play coupled with a stunning slap shot from the high slot. Juha gave 100 percent throughout the entire contest, and his ruthless mindset carried him to make countless big plays.
— BTN Student U (@BTNStudentU) January 29, 2016
Penn State continues its rivalry with Michigan Saturday, January 30 at the Big Ten Super Saturday Hoops and Hockey event in New York City’s famous Madison Square Garden. Men’s basketball tips off at noon, and men’s hockey is slated for a 7 p.m. puck drop.