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No. 19 Penn State Men’s Hockey Loses To No. 2 Michigan 5-1

No. 19 Penn State men’s hockey (6-4-0) started a long Michigan rivalry weekend with a 5-1 loss to No. 2 Michigan (9-2-0).

How It Happened

Head coach Guy Gadowsky gave senior goaltender Oskar Autio the start. Autio came into the game with a 1-2-1 record along with a .896 save percentage against the Wolverines all-time.

Penn State and Michigan traded shots back and forth for nearly half of the first period, but a penalty was called against Penn State for too many men on the ice at 11:13. However, the Nittany Lions did manage to get back to full strength while each team sat evenly with six shots on goal at the end of the Michigan power play.

The Wolverines got their seventh shot on goal and made it count as they led 1-0 at 17:12, with the goal coming from graduate student and forward Luke Morgan. Freshman forward Dylan Duke assisted the Michigan goal. There was also an interference penalty on Ryan Kirwan that carried over into the second period. While Penn State trailed 1-0 at the end of the first period, it had an excellent penalty kill and also led shots on goal total with nine shots over Michigan’s seven.

Sophomore forward Matty Beniers kicked off the second period and scored at 0:35, making it a 2-0 game. The goal was assisted by sophomore defenseman Owen Power and sophomore forward Kent Johnson. The packed Pegula Ice Arena crowd was quiet for a few minutes until Penn State got a momentum boost with a power play at 4:30 when Michigan’s junior forward Nick Granowicz was called for cross-checking. Unfortunately, nothing came of the power play opportunity despite five shots on goal for the Nittany Lions.

The Wolverines had another power play opportunity at 11:03 of the second period Chase McLane was called for a minor penalty for boarding. A few minutes after the penalty kill by the Nittany Lions, senior forward Ben Copeland finally scored at 16:34 in the second period, with the assist coming from sophomore forward Xander Lamppa and Autio. However, the party didn’t last long, as Johnny Beecher scored for Michigan at 18:11, giving the Wolverines a 3-1 lead. The Michigan goal was assisted by sophomore defenseman Steve Holtz and the defenseman Power. Penn State went into intermission trailing 3-1 but would have a power play opportunity that would begin in the third period.

The third period began with the full but unsuccessful power play opportunity for Penn State following a tripping call at the end of the second period against freshman defenseman Ethan Edwards. Michigan converted with a goal scored by senior forward Garrett Van Wyhe, making it a 4-1 game at 8:03. While on the power play, Beniers scored his second goal of the game at the 14:50 mark of the third period. The goal was assisted by Power and Johnson. This goal essentially sealed the deal for the Wolverines, giving them a favorable lead of 5-1.

Takeaways

  • Sophomore goaltender Erik Portillo was a wall that could not be broken and carried his team to victory. Apart from one goal, the Nittany Lions couldn’t get one past Portillo as he ended the evening with 33 saves. A game in which offense was lacking for Penn State was mainly due to a stellar goaltending performance by Portillo.
  • Penn State lacked the physicality and speed that Michigan has. The Nittany Lions just got outplayed, plain and simple. The Wolverines used a significant amount more force than Penn State in terms of checking. This game is a reflection of playing a team that has 12 NHL prospects on their roster.
  • Penn State’s penalty kill tonight was not nearly as strong as at the beginning of the season. Michigan went 2 for 4 on the power play tonight. Things were physical, and sometimes emotions got in the way, but to beat a team as good as Michigan, penalties have to be kept to a minimum.

What’s Next

These two teams will take the ice once again in the second and final game of the series. Puck drop set for 7 p.m. at Pegula Ice Arena, and the game can be streamed on BTN+.

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About the Author

Gabriel Herman

Gabriel Herman is a journalism major at Penn State from Minneapolis, MN. He writes about several sports-related topics. If you want to discuss great moments in Minnesota sports history, you can reach him at [email protected].

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