No. 17 Penn State Hockey Picks Up Crucial 5-3 Victory Against Michigan State
No. 17 Penn State men’s hockey (17-11-2, 9-10-1 Big Ten) finished its series against Michigan State (11-16-5, 7-11-4 Big Ten) with a crucial 5-3 victory at Munn Ice Arena on Saturday.
Brandon Biro, Ludvig Larsson, Paul DeNaples, Kris Myllari, and Nate Sucese scored for the Nittany Lions, who kept their NCAA tournament hopes alive with the win.
Peyton Jones had a bounce-back game in goal; he made 27 saves on 30 Spartan shots.
How It Happened
Penn State got off to a fast start on Saturday night. Brandon Biro buried his 10th of the season with 15:49 to play in the first period to open the scoring.
The Nittany Lions thought they doubled the lead when Chase Berger stuffed the puck in nearly four minutes later. The goal was overturned because the referees determined he punched the puck in with his glove.
Instead of taking a two-goal lead, Penn State conceded a goal after Berger’s tally was washed out. Michigan State’s Adam Goodsir scored his second goal in as many nights to tie the game at one with 9:29 left in the first period.
Ludvig Larsson would cash in to score his second goal in as many nights to ~actually~ give the Nittany Lions a 2-1 lead. His ninth of the year was assisted by Nikita Pavlychev and Nate Sucese, and it gave Penn State a one-goal cushion entering the first intermission.
Michigan State’s Cody Milan tied the game at two early in the second period, but freshman Paul DeNaples stepped up to score his first NCAA goal. The goal gave Penn State a 3-2 lead with 11:55 to play in the middle frame, and it gave his team a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Kris Myllari extended the lead to 4-2 with 6:33 left in the second period, and Penn State took that two-goal cushion into the intermission. Guy Gadowsky’s team put together a strong defensive effort for most of the third period, but Michigan State’s Jerad Rosburg did bring his team within a goal with 5:55 to play in the third period.
The Nittany Lions held firm against the Spartans’ late push for an equalizer, and Nate Sucese deposited the puck into an empty net to give Penn State a hugely important 5-3 win.
- Congratulations are in order for freshman defenseman Paul DeNaples, who scored his first NCAA goal. Guy Gadowsky definitely didn’t bring the steady DeNaples to Happy Valley for his goal-scoring abilities, but he came up huge on Saturday.
- You can’t understate how important this victory is for Penn State. The Nittany Lions needed this one to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive. Getting swept by a not-great Michigan State squad would’ve sent Penn State tumbling down the PairWise rankings further than its current spot of No. 18.
- Nate Sucese had another huge game. His empty-netter may not carry as much weight as a typical goal, but he scored three points and was a factor in all areas of the ice tonight.
- Star center Evan Barratt did not play on Saturday night after suffering an undisclosed injury in Friday night’s game. He took a hard hit from Spartan defenseman Brody Stevens in the first period and didn’t return to the ice. Alex Limoges shifted over to center on his line, and Adam Pilewicz filled into Limoges’ usual left wing spot.
Penn State will play its last two games at Pegula Ice Arena this season against Wisconsin. The puck will drop at 6:30 p.m. Friday, February 22 before a 7 p.m. puck drop one night later.
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About the Author
The Nittany Lions participated in a max-out lifting session to mark the end of winter workouts.
The Nittany Lions bested the Buckeyes on the heels of a strong second period.
Gaines was committed to the Nittany Lions for nearly a year.