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No. 6 Penn State Hockey Drops 6-0 Decision To Michigan At Home

No. 6 Penn State hockey (16-7-0, 8-5-0 Big Ten) opened its two-game series against Michigan (10-11-2, 5-7-1 Big Ten) with a 6-0 defeat at Pegula Ice Arena on Friday night.

Mel Pearson’s Wolverines got off to a fast start, and Penn State couldn’t get anything going offensively against a Michigan team that truly put together an excellent 60-minute effort. Penn State’s defense hadn’t allowed more than four goals in a game this season prior to Friday’s game.

Peyton Jones made 41 saves in the defeat.

How It Happened

The Wolverines really dictated the pace of Friday’s game throughout the early-goings by establishing an 8-3 lead in shots on goal through the first 5:33 of play. Peyton Jones was equal to everything Michigan threw at him — including a fine save on Nick Pastujov on a rebound in close and another on a one-timer by Garrett van Wyhe — early on.

Michigan’s Jake Slaker got the game’s scoring going late in the first. He raced down the left wing and snapped a wrist shot past Jones to put his team up 1-0 with 3:46 to play in the opening frame. The Wolverines held that lead and a 19-11 advantage in shots on goal, but a late tripping penalty gave Penn State 1:37 of carry-over power play time to work with.

The second period got off to a drama-filled start, to say the least. Peyton Jones was caught adventuring out of his goal with the puck, and he was stripped before Will Lockwood stuffed a wraparound home to make it 2-0 Michigan. However, the goal was wiped off the board after Guy Gadowsky successfully challenged the call for too many men on the ice.

Nick Pastujov *actually* made it 2-0 Michigan with a nifty wrister from the high slot with 12:43 to play in the second period. Pastujov collected a pass following an odd-man rush before wiring the puck over Jones’ glove hand on the play. The middle frame was significantly slower than the first, and it ended with Penn State down two and trailing 29-23 in shots.

Guy Gadowsky’s team started the third period well, but Johnny Beecher blasted a one-timer home with exactly 14 minutes to play. The goal extended Michigan’s lead to three and took a lot of the air out of Pegula Ice Arena, and Jake Slaker made it 4-0 to Michigan less than a minute later.

Michael Pastujov made it 5-0 a few minutes later, and Johnny Beecher scored again on the power play to extend the lead to 6-0. Nikita Pavlychev was ejected for quite literally punching Michigan’s Griffin Luce in the face to cap off an ugly, ugly game for Penn State at Pegula Ice Arena.

Takeaways

  • Michigan was excellent in the first period and set the tone for its strong overall performance with a fast start. It seemed like Mel Pearson’s squad dictated the flow of play throughout the opening 40 minutes, and Penn State wasn’t able to generate high-quality chances in the first period.
  • Despite the result, Peyton Jones continued his phenomenal season with another strong performance. He didn’t get too much help from the players in front of him, but Jones has been tracking the puck and closing down angles very well throughout this season. It was more of the same for Jones, who was let down by a lack of goal support, before things fell apart in the third period.
  • Speaking of strong goaltending, Penn State failed to challenge Michigan’s Strauss Mann, who’s been one of the Big Ten’s best netminders this year. The team seemed to have a pass-first mentality throughout the entire game, and some of the Nittany Lions’ forwards quite literally passed up golden chances to shoot.

What’s Next?

Penn State and Michigan will wrap up their series at 6 p.m. on Saturday right back at Pegula Ice Arena.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

Mikey is a senior majoring in journalism who's a Senior Editor for Onward State. He's from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, Mikey is way too obnoxious about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. You can follow Mikey on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino in order to fill your timeline with all the hockey/golf content you'll ever need. You can also send all hate mail, death threats, and your vote for the best chicken parm in State College to [email protected]

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