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Penn State Men’s Hockey Completes Two-Goal Comeback, Defeats Michigan State 5-3

Penn State men’s hockey (15-17-1, 6-16-1 Big Ten) completed a comeback against Michigan State (11-22-1, 5-19-0-1 Big Ten) to win 5-3 Friday night. A four-goal third period allowed the Nittany Lions to overcome the two goal deficit.

Captain Paul DeNaples scored the game-tying goal, and Connor MacEachern scored the game-winning goal on the power play, setting a program record for most power play goals scored by a player in a single season.

How It Happened

Guy Gadowsky opted to start Liam Souliere in goal, along with a sturdy five in front of him.

The first period started slow, with neither team able to generate good chances. At 13:48 of the first period, the Nittany Lions had a big opportunity with the first power play of the game. Penn State was able to generate a few chances, but none that seemed to be too dangerous.

With 26 seconds left on the power play, Jimmy Dowd was called for a slash bailing Michigan State out of the remainder of being a man down. Michigan State had multiple quality chances, but Souliere made a few good saves to keep the game scoreless.

Tyler Gratton opened up the scoring with 9:30 left in the first period with a quick shot from the lefthand side of the the offensive zone, giving Penn State a 1-0 lead. Dzhaniyev and Copeland were credited with the assists.

Simon Mack was then called for hooking, which gave Michigan State another opportunity on the power play. Just 18 seconds in, Josh Nodler tied the game at 1-1. A quick pass across the goal left the Calgary Flames prospect with an open net.

A third power play came for Michigan State late in the period. Penn State defended well and kept the game level going into the first intermission.

The second period started with both teams firing many shots on goal. Just over one minute into the period, Gucciardi’s shot from the point was deflected and found the back of the net, giving the Spartans a 2-1 lead and all the game’s momentum.

The remainder of the period consisted of a few chances for each team. None appeared to be very threatening.

The game intensified with both teams exchanging multiple big hits and scrums after the whistles. The officials attempted to keep the game under control by assessing unsportsmanlike conducts to each team.

With just 6.4 seconds remaining, Minnendorf beat Souliere on a breakaway to extend Michigan State’s lead to 3-1.

Just 50 seconds into the third period, Ben Schoen and Jimmy Dowd Jr. found Adam Pilewicz, who smashed one into the top corner from the blue line to cut Michigan State’s lead to 3-2.

Penn State was then called for another penalty at 17:59 in the third period.

Four-on-four hockey came back after Michigan State was called for interference. A costly turnover left Paul DeNaples wide open in front of the goal, and he found the top corner to tie the game a 3-3.

Halfway through the period, Penn State looked dominant. A couple of quick goals came from the Nittany Lions putting many shots on goal. Michigan State was not able to get almost anything going in the final period.

With five minutes remaining, Penn State went on another power play. Jagger Joshua served his fourth penalty of the night, which ended up being costly.

Connor MacEachern found the back of the net on the power play to give Penn State its first lead since the first period. With that goal, MacEachern tallied his sixth power play goal of the season, which is a single-season record for the program.

With 1:30 remaining, Michigan State pulled its goalie to add an extra skater. Ben Copeland found the empty net with 44 seconds left to put the game away.

Takeaways

  • Penn State showed mental toughness late in the game to comeback from a two-goal deficit. Executing on power plays allowed the Nittany Lions to gain momentum, something the team struggled with as of late.
  • Souliere was solid in goal tonight, again. He totaled 27 saves on 30 shots on goal. Goaltending has been huge this season for the Nittany Lions. If Gadowsky opts to follow the same pattern he has been, Oskar Autio will likely get the start tomorrow night.

What’s Next?

Penn State will finish the series and close out its regular with another matchup against Michigan State tomorrow night. Puck drop is set for 6 p.m., and the game can be streamed on BTN+.

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About the Author

Theo Koch

Theo is a freshman at Penn State majoring in marketing. He is from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Both of his parents attended Penn State, so he was born into this. He enjoys watching all sports, outdoor activities, and spending time with family and friends. Feel free to reach out to [email protected] with any comments, questions, or concerns.

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