Penn State Men’s Hockey Splits Series, Drops Game To Michigan State 4-3
Penn State men’s hockey (10-8-0, Big Ten 2-7-0) lost to Michigan State (10-6-1, Big Ten 5-4-0) 4-3, splitting the series 1-1 on its home ice.
The Nittany Lions fired 53 shots on goal and entered the third period tied with the Spartans, but they weren’t able to finish the job late in the game.
How It Happened
Head coach Guy Gadowsky once again gave the start to senior goaltender Oskar Autio after a night in which he had 30 saves on 32 shots on goal from Michigan State.
The Spartans got off to a fast start, as sophomore forward Jeremy Davidson scored at the 3:31 mark of the first period to take an early 1-0 lead. Senior forward Mitchell Lewandowski assisted the Michigan State goal and freshman forward Jesse Tucker.
It didn’t take long for the Nittany Lions to answer back, as sophomore forward Chase McLane tied things up at 7:00 in the first period. The Penn State goal was assisted by senior forward Adam Pilewicz and sophomore defenseman Jimmy Dowd. At 12:54 of the first period, junior forward Connor MacEachern and Michigan State’s Davidson were sent to the box for two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct.
While both teams did manage to get back to full strength, senior defenseman Dennis Cesana gave Michigan State a 2-1 lead at 16:06 in the first period. The goal was assisted by Lewandowski and freshman forward Jesse Tucker. After the goal, Cesana was sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct after and Penn State freshman forward Xander Lamppa also went for two minutes for roughing after the pair got into a slight scuffle. At the end of the first period, the Nittany Lions trailed 2-1 but led the shots battle 16-11.
Penn State men’s hockey’s annual Teddy Bear Toss took place during the first intermission, as hundreds of bears were thrown onto the ice.
At 2:24 of the second period, junior forward Erik Middendorf was called for a minor boarding penalty, but Penn State didn’t capitalize on the power play. However, shortly after the power play, MacEachern missed a wraparound attempt but got his rebound and scored at the 10:03 mark of the second period, tying the game 2-2. The goal was assisted by freshman forward Danny Dzhaniyev and sophomore defenseman Christian Berger.
Almost immediately after the Penn State goal, senior forward Adam Goodsir was called for tripping at 10:29, giving Penn State another power play. The Spartans managed to get back to full strength as they killed off the penalty. As the horn signaled the end of the second period, the Nittany Lions led the shots on goal battle 30-16 in a tie game.
After Dowd was sent to the box for tripping at 2:51 in the third period, Lewandowski capitalized on the power play by scoring at 4:10 of the second period giving the Spartans a 3-2 lead. The goal was assisted by sophomore defenseman Nash Nienhuis and junior forward Griffin Loughran. The Spartans’ momentum continued to build as sophomore forward Kristof Papp scored at the 6:16 mark of the third period giving Michigan State a 4-2 lead. The goal was assisted by sophomore forward A.J. Hodges and junior forward Josh Nodler.
Carson Dyck recognized that a two-goal lead is the most dangerous in hockey and scored at the 8:46 mark of the third period, making it a 4-3 game. Dowd and sophomore forward Tyler Paquette assisted the goal. This goal was Dyck’s first in his collegiate career. At 14:44 in the third period, McLane was called on a costly tripping penalty, putting the Nittany Lions into penalty kill mode at a time that needed offense.
However, Penn State did manage to get back to full strength and kill the penalty. Autio was pulled from the net at 17:41 in hopes of producing a late goal. At the end of the game, Dowd and MacEachern were both sent to the penalty box for roughing about 13 seconds apart from each other. The late-game push by Penn State wasn’t enough to tie it up.
- Power play struggles were present for the Nittany Lions tonight, as there were several opportunities to score, but they couldn’t capitalize. Penn State went 0-for-3 on power plays in a game in which it could have significantly benefitted from even one goal on the power play. Michigan State went 1-for-5 on the power play (which isn’t a number to strive for), but it did make a difference as the Nittany Lions trailed by one goal late into the game.
- Tiny scuffles at the end of plays led to several four on fours that Penn State couldn’t afford. There were three separate occasions in which both teams were called for either unsportsmanlike conduct or roughing. In a game in which there is an opportunity to sweep a Big Ten team on home ice, letting emotions get in the way of opportunities for the team is not ideal. Penn State lost some good skill to the box such as MacEachern and Dowd.
- The 2021 teddy bear toss was a massive success at Pegula Ice Arena. One of the best traditions through all of Penn State’s sporting events. This year’s toss was also significant, considering there was no teddy bear toss in person last season. Besides the appeal of a Big Ten hockey matchup, the teddy bear toss that gives Four Diamonds children every teddy bear thrown is arguably the main appeal to attending tonight’s game. It is a fun sight to see and supports a great cause.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday, December 10, to take on Wisconsin at 8 p.m. in the first of a two-game series.
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About the Author
Kotelnicki’s hiring was first reported Thursday afternoon.
The Nittany Lions survived a late Minnesota comeback attempt to split the series.