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No. 19 Penn State Men’s Hockey Swept By No. 2 Michigan In 6-2 Loss

Penn State men’s hockey (6-5) dropped its fourth consecutive game, losing 6-2 to Michigan (10-2).

The second-ranked Wolverines swept Penn State in dominant fashion, as little mistakes held the Nittany Lions back from competing throughout the game.

How It Happened

Penn State took the ice on Friday night looking to rebound from its 5-1 loss the night before. Sophomore Liam Souliere was given the start in goal for the Nittany Lions.

With just under 16 minutes remaining in the first period, Penn State was gifted the game’s first power play opportunity when Wolverines goaltender Erik Portillo was whistled for slashing. Forward Brendan Brisson served the penalty. Much like the game prior, Penn State wasn’t able to establish enough pressure in the offensive zone, and as a result, the Wolverines killed the penalty with ease, and the game returned to even-strength hockey.

Following the successful penalty kill, the Wolverines were gifted a goal on a sloppy miscue by Penn State in its own end. Goaltender Liam Souliere attempted to drop the puck off to a defender following a Michigan dump in, but it was intercepted by Brisson leaving the box, giving the sophomore a clean look at the net for his eighth goal of the season. The goal was assisted by forwards Kent Johnson and Matty Beniers.

Looking for any sort of momentum to get on the scoreboard and tie the game, Penn State was sent to the power play after Wolverines defenseman Keaton Pehrson illegally hit forward Carson Dyck into the boards, leading to a five-minute Nittany Lions power play and a game misconduct for Pehrson. Despite the extended man advantage, Penn State once again struggled to find the back of the net on the power play. The game remained at a one-goal Michigan advantage heading into the final minutes of the first period.

The first period came to a close with Michigan leading Penn State 1-0. Shots were in favor of the Nittany Lions 14-6.

The Nittany Lions came out on fire to start the second period, spending the entire first minute of the second frame in the Michigan zone. Penn State was by far the better team to begin the period, and the team finally scored to even up the game at 1-1. Junior forward Connor McMenamin scooped up the rebound off a save from Portillo and fired the loose puck into the back of the net for his second goal of the season.

Despite the equalizer from Penn State, it didn’t take long for Michigan to respond with a goal of its own. Freshman phenom and New Jersey Devils draft pick Luke Hughes fired a beautiful shot from the near slot over the left shoulder of Souliere into the top corner of the net for his fifth of the season to give the Wolverines a 2-1 lead.

After another failed Penn State power play, it was the Wolverines who were sent to the man advantage due to a tripping penalty called on junior forward Tyler Paquette. Toward the end of the power play, Michigan took advantage of Penn State having tired legs out on the ice and scored the first power play goal of the game. After scoring two goals in Thursday’s contest, Michigan forward and Seattle Kraken draft pick Matty Beniers deflected in his ninth goal of the season off a beautiful pass from defenseman Owen Power.

The Nittany Lions were once again given an opportunity to get back in the game on the power play, and much like its other man advantages, Penn State was unable to find the back of the net. In the waning seconds of the Penn State power play, it was the Wolverines who lit the lamp for their third goal of the period. Sophomore forward Thomas Bordeleau buried his third of the season to give Michigan a commanding 4-1 lead.

At the end of the second period, Michigan led 4-1 despite being outshot 24-18.

Entering the third, Penn State faced an uphill battle to climb back into this one, and it didn’t get any easier after the Wolverines scored early in the third to take a 5-1 lead. Star defenseman and top draft pick Owen Power scored his third goal of the season on a seeing-eye shot from the point for his second point of the game.

With just under nine minutes in the third period, Penn State was gifted a golden opportunity to make this a game and did just that. The Nittany Lions scored their first power play goal of the series when senior forward Ben Copeland scored his third of the season to cut the Michigan lead to three. Moments later, the Wolverines answered back to put them back up four with just over seven minutes remaining. Freshman defenseman Luke Hughes found the back of the net for his second of the game.

The third period came to an end, signaling Penn State’s fourth straight loss after being ranked as high as 16 following its win over No. 6 North Dakota in Nashville. Despite being outshot for the second straight game, Michigan cruised to a dominant 6-2 win over the Nittany Lions Friday night in Pegula Ice Arena.

Takeaways

  • For the second straight game it was clear that Michigan was the better team for all 60 minutes. The Wolverines appeared stronger, faster, and more skilled than the Nittany Lions at all times left Pegula this week with the series sweep. Michigan is the second ranked team in the country for a reason, and it showed this week, as it significantly outplaying Penn State in all facets of the game.
  • Goaltender Erik Portillo was solid once again for the Wolverines as the sophomore stopped all but two of the 36 shots that were thrown his way. Despite playing in all of Michigan’s games thus far and on the second half of a back-to-back, Portillo showed no signs of fatigue en route to a dominant 6-2 Michigan victory.
  • Penn State’s power play once again failed to show up. The Nittany Lions were given six opportunities on the man advantage and managed to scored only once.

What’s Next

Penn State will travel to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers for a two-game series beginning Friday, November 19. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. and the game can be streamed on BTN+.

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