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No. 6 Penn State Hockey Shut Down In 2-0 Defeat Against Michigan State

No. 6 Penn State hockey (6-2-0, 2-1-0 Big Ten) suffered its first conference loss of the season in a 2-0 defeat to Michigan State (3-4-0, 1-0-0 Big Ten) on Friday night.

Michigan State goaltender John Lethemon put on one of the Big Ten’s most impressive goaltending displays of the season, stopping all of Penn State’s 48 shots on goal.

Michigan State’s defense also stood out in this game. It halted Penn State from gaining any momentum consistently putting their body on the line, blocking an insane 31 Penn State shots.

How It Happened

The game got off to a slow start, with both teams only registering one shot apiece during the first five minutes.

Penn State dominated the shot differential (16-4) and played in its offensive zone for the majority of the period, but Michigan State netminder John Lethemon put on an impressive display of goaltending in the first.

Michigan State came out swinging during the second, doubling their first period shot differential within the first two minutes of action.

The Nittany Lions went on a 5-on-3 power play around six minutes into the second when Spartan defenseman duo and twin brothers Cole and Christian Krygier simultaneously received two-minute minors for post-whistle physicality.

Penn State failed to convert on the power play and then failed to convert on another Christian Krygier penalty five minutes later, only to give up a rebound goal from Spartans center Patrick Khodorenko almost as soon as the Spartans returned to full strength. Michigan State took a 1-0 lead with 6:21 left in the second period.

Penn State upped the offensive intensity during the first half of the third period, but it just couldn’t find the back of the net. The team to capitalize on a number of breakaways and open looks, and it also struggled to get any shots from the blue line to reach Spartan netminder Lethemon, who put on a clinic and stuffed any close-proximity shots that came his way.

Spartan winger Logan Lamdin sealed the win with an empty-net goal with two minutes left to lift Michigan State over Penn State with a 2-0 win.

Takeaways

  • Two things plagued Penn State tonight: failure to capitalize on scoring opportunities and an assortment of turnovers in both the offensive and defensive zones. Those turnovers returned any possible momentum back to Michigan State.
  • It’s interesting how this team can easily sweep a top team in the country like Wisconsin one week and then struggle to score against a middle-of-the-road team like Michigan State. Chalk it up to what Guy Gadowsky said a few weeks ago about the college hockey playing field being leveled more and more each year because of the increased attention from the NHL over the past few years.
  • Although they put up over 40 shots, the Nittany Lions just didn’t have the same bite or finishing capabilities they’ve shown in previous games this season. It’s definitely not due to a lack of effort, but after tonight and their 4-0 loss to Alaska-Fairbanks a few weeks back, it seems to be an oddity. It happens to the best of teams, but the fact that it’s happened twice against weaker sides is concerning

What’s Next

Penn State will be back at Pegula Saturday night for game two against Michigan State. Puck drop is slated for 6 p.m.

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About the Author

Matthew Ogden

Matthew Ogden is a senior double majoring in Marketing and Journalism. He resides in South Jersey and is the cohost of Onward State's podcast, Podward State, and the blog's preeminent expert on Kanye West. Email him your favorite Spotify playlists to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MattOgden98.

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