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No 6. Penn State Men’s Hockey Drops Series Opener To No. 7 Michigan 7-3

No. 6 Penn State men’s hockey (18-8-1, 8-8-1 Big Ten) struggled mightily in the defensive zone in its 7-3 loss against No. 7 Michigan (15-9-1, 7-8-0 Big Ten) Friday night in Ann Arbor.

Xander Lamppa scored two goals, but it wasn’t enough to take down the Wolverines in the series opener. Adam Fantilli registered three points to go along with a dominant 48 save performance from goaltender Erik Portillo.

How It Happened

To nobody’s surprise, Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky elected to go with usual starter Liam Souliere in opposite star goalie Erik Portillo for the Wolverines. Portillo did not play in the two-game series between these two teams earlier this season in State College.

Despite Penn State getting off to the hotter start in terms of shots on goal and scoring chances, it was the Wolverines who got on the board first. Freshman Jackson Hallum beat Souliere for just his second goal of the season.

At the 8:09 mark of the first period, Tyler Paquette was sent to the box for tripping, giving Michigan the game’s first power play. Star forward Adam Fantilli beat Souliere on the power play for his fifteenth goal of the season. Michigan scored two goals on its first two shots.

The Wolverines would get another power play opportunity due to another tripping call on Penn State. Ben Schoen was sent to the box, giving Michigan its second-man advantage of the first period. The Nittany Lions got the much-needed kill to keep the Michigan lead at two.

Penn State was given its first power play opportunity at the 14:47 mark of the first period when Michigan was called for delay of game after two straight face-off violations. The Nittany Lions were unable to generate much on the power play as Michigan killed the penalty with ease.

A rough first period finally came to an end for the Nittany Lions. Despite outshooting Michigan 18-7, Penn State still found itself down 2-0 after 20 minutes.

Just 17 seconds into the second period, Michigan got the puck past Souliere, but the goal was overturned due to goaltender interference after Penn State challenged the call on the ice.

After an unsuccessful breakaway attempt, Ben Schoen was hit hard by Jay Keranen leading to a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct. The Nittany Lions wasted no time on the power play as Xander Lamppa beat Portillo to cut Michigan’s lead in half.

Michigan killed off the remainder of the major penalty, and just over three minutes later, Rutger McGroarty beat Souliere’s high glove side to extend Michigan’s lead to 3-1. Junior forward Philippe Lapointe found the back of the net just moments later for his second goal of the season, extending Michigan’s lead to 4-1. Liam Souliere was pulled in favor of freshman Noah Grannon after allowing four goals on just ten shots.

The Nittany Lions got one back as Xander Lamppa found the back of the net for the second time in two periods to cut the Michigan lead to 4-2.

A goal-heavy second period came to an end with Michigan still up two. Liam Souliere was pulled and Xander Lamppa scored two goals in the middle period. Penn State led in shots 36-19 after 40 minutes.

There was an extended review at the 3:34 mark of the third due to Michigan challenging a potential high sticking major penalty. The call on the ice stood and the game went back to 5-on-5 hockey.

Penn State had a plethora of chances in the offensive zone around the 13-minute mark of the third period, but it was unable to find the back of the net to pull within one. The Nittany Lions still trailed 4-2 with just six and a half minutes remaining in regulation.

The Wolverines added an empty netter with 2:10 remaining to put the nail in the coffin. The goal was Adam Fantilli’s second of the game and sixteenth of the season.

Sophomore Luke Hughes added an empty netter of his own from the other end of the ice to extend Michigan’s lead to 6-2.

Alex Servagno scored a late goal to make it a 6-3 game. The Wolverines scored just moments later as Luca Fantilli found the back of the net for the first time in his collegiate career.

The final horn would sound and a disastrous night for Penn State would come to an end. Michigan took game one of the series by a score of 7-3.


  • Goaltender Liam Souliere struggled mightily in Penn State’s loss on Friday night. The junior had arguably his worst game of the season as he allowed four goals on just 10 shots while failing to make it out of the second period. Noah Grannon stopped ten of the 11 shots he faced.
  • The Stars were out in full effect for the Wolverines as Erik Portillo was his usual dominant self, stopping all but three of the 51 shots he faced to earn his fourteenth win of the season.
  • Projected top draft pick Adam Fantilli also played very well for Michigan in its win. Fantilli registered four points including a power-play goal and adding an empty netter late in the third, capping off a big night for the Wolverines.

What’s Next?

Penn State will finish off its season series with the Wolverines at 7 p.m on Saturday, January 28. The game will be available to watch on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Devon Craley

Devon is a junior studying sports journalism. He has the genuine misfortune of being a Philadelphia sports fan...IYKYK. Send your hot takes and preferably your freezing cold takes on Twitter to @devon3134. Devon is also your friendly, neighborhood State College movie nerd.

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