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Penn State Hockey Defeats Michigan State 3-2 In Overtime Comeback

Penn State hockey (6–7–0, 4–7 Big Ten) started off a six-game home stand with a 3-2 overtime win against Michigan State (5-5-3, 4-5-2 Big Ten) Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.

Alex Limoges scored the overtime winner for Penn State. Christian Sarlo scored the first Nittany Lion goal of the game and Connor MacEachern scored the late third-period goal to tie the game. Josh Nodler and Mitchell Lewandowski scored for the Spartans.

Oskar Autio started and made 26 saves for Penn State. Drew DeRidder was phenomenal again against the Nittany Lions, making 36 saves in the loss.

How It Happened

The opening minutes of the game were physical with both teams laying monster hits during the opening shifts. The Nittany Lions would be the first on the board, though. A two-on-one advantage down low saw Tim Doherty find Sarlo back door for the 1-0 lead just over seven minutes into the game. Sarlo slotted in alongside Doherty and Limoges a couple of games back and the trio has quickly found chemistry on Penn State’s second line.

The Nittany Lions continued to swarm the Spartans, forcing multiple turnovers on the forecheck and in the neutral zone. The best Michigan State chance of the period came with five minutes left when Autio robbed Charlie Combs with the glove from the low slot. DeRidder matched Autio 20 seconds later when he robbed Sam Sternschien on a wide-open one-timer.

Penn State was given a power play with four minutes left in the period when Jagger Joshua was called for a high stick. The Spartan penalty killers were able to kill off the man advantage with relative ease. Penn State still managed to cap off a dominant first period with a 1-0 and 17-5 lead in shots.

The second frame started with Penn State on the man advantage for 32 seconds. Michigan State did another good job to kill off the man advantage. Four minutes into the period Michigan State would find its first goal. Josh Nodler snuck a shot by Autio off a turnover from the Nittany Lions to tie the game at one.

Shortly after the goal, Joshua was sent to the box again along with Kevin Wall, meaning both teams would skate four-on-four. Both teams had chances on the open ice but to no avail. Penn State would take a timeout with 10:30 left in the second period as the ice began to tilt heavily in favor of the Spartans.

After the timeout, Christian Berger was called for a hold, sending Michigan State on the power play. Penn State’s penalty kill stayed strong, despite some shaky moments, and killed off the power play. DeRidder continued to stonewall the Nittany Lions, making multiple big saves as the period winded down. Neither team would find the back of the net again as the period ended with the score tied at 1-1. Penn State led in shots 33-18.

It took 15 seconds into the third period for Michigan State to take the lead. Lewandowski threw a puck from behind the net off a Nittany Lion defenseman and past Autio. It was an unfortunate bounce for Penn State, and the Nittany Lions now faced a tall task of getting multiple goals on DeRidder, something it hadn’t done all season.

With 12 minutes left in the game, MacEachern was called for hooking, giving Michigan State its second power play of the game. Doherty had a short-handed chance on a breakaway, but DeRidder made another big save. Penn State penalty killers had another strong showing, shrugging off the man advantage with ease.

Michigan State continued to stifle the Nittany Lions attack as the game came closer to its conclusion. Penn State’s cause was not helped when Chase McLane was sent to the box for tripping with 4:39 left in the period. Autio made a spectacular sprawling save and a penalty on Michigan State helped end the man advantage. Both teams skated four-on-four for 20 seconds before Penn State had a power play.

Autio headed to the bench with two minutes left in the game, giving Penn State a six-on-four advantage. MacEachern would be the man with the late-game heroics, burying a power play goal and tying the game with 1:10 left. MacEachern’s goal sent the game to overtime tied 2-2. Penn State still lead in shots 39-29.

It took only 30 seconds of overtime for Penn State to find its winner. The duo of Doherty and Limoges connected yet again as Limoges buried a backhand one-timer past DeRidder for the 3-2 comeback victory.

Key Takeaways

  • Drew DeRidder. That’s it. That’s the takeaway. Despite the loss, he’s been a force in net for the Spartans thus far.
  • The trio of Limoges, Doherty, and Sarlo has become the best line for the Nittany Lions. The duo of Limoges and Doherty has been effective all season already, but the addition of Sarlo has complimented them well. It was easy to see how well all three of them understand each other on the first goal of the game. Penn State can now roll two effective lines, along with Wall, Connor McMenamin, and Aarne Talvitie.
  • Penn State did a great job on the forecheck and in the neutral zone. There were stretches in the game where the Spartans had trouble getting out of their own zone. Penn State’s defensemen were not scared to step up as far as the red line to squeeze the Spartans and limit their options. Michigan State started to figure it out as the game went along, but still struggled to get the offense going against a stout defensive system set up by the Nittany Lions.
  • Familiarity breeds hate and these teams hate each other. The game was chippy from the start and the lack of fans in Pegula means it’s easy to hear the colorful language being thrown between the two teams. It’s something that was anticipated once the schedule came out for this weird season, with teams seeing each other multiple times in a short span. The Spartans and Nittany Lions will face off again Saturday night, helping add more fuel to the fire.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions and Spartans will square off in game two of the series Saturday afternoon. Puck drop from Pegula is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on BTN+.

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About the Author

Connor Donohue

Connor is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. He hails from the great state of New Jersey and is proud of it. Lover of the greatest city in the world, New York City, he strongly dislikes the city of Philadelphia and will not hesitate to tell you that. He's also been cursed as a Penn State fan since birth. If you want to call him a bum or maybe go out on a date with him, follow him on twitter @ConnorDonohue00 or email him at [email protected]

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