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Late Comeback Bid Falls Short As Penn State Men’s Hockey Loses 5-3 To No. 14 Michigan

Penn State men’s hockey (12-14-3, 4-12-3 Big Ten) fell 5-3 to No. 14 Michigan (15-11-3, 8-9-2 Big Ten) on Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.

Michigan got on the board immediately, with two goals within the first 90 seconds after puck drop. Michigan eventually gained a 4-0 lead, but Penn State made it 4-3 late in the game. All hopes were lost after an empty-netter with under a minute left in regulation, handing Penn State another loss.

How It Happened

It only took 35 seconds for the Wolverines to score. It was Rutger McGroarty who earned the goal, tapping it past Liam Souliere to give Michigan a 1-0 lead.

Things only got worse for Penn State. Josh Eernisse scored not even 30 seconds later, ripping a slapshot off the faceoff to give Michigan a 2-0 at 1:01 in the first period.

At 2:58 in the period, Penn State was assessed a penalty for too many men on the ice, which Dylan Lugris served. Despite two dangerous Michigan chances, the Nittany Lions killed the penalty.

Penn State’s first dangerous chance came nearly halfway through the period, as Tyler Paquette set up Christian Sarlo with a pass on Jake Barczewski’s weak side. He didn’t finish it, but two more close calls in front of the net generated excitement from the Roar Zone.

Another penalty was handed to the Nittany Lions with three minutes left in the period. This time it was Jimmy Dowd Jr. for cross-checking. After numerous shots that were deflected, Michigan finally got another one in. McGroarty got his second of the game to give Michigan a safe 3-0 lead at 18:14 in the period.

Then, Tanner Rowe took a slashing penalty with a minute left to give Penn State a much-needed power play. The period ended with Penn State on the one-man advantage.

Michigan easily killed the penalty to begin the second period. However, Marshall Warren’s roughing call sent the Wolverines on the penalty kill once again at 3:06 in the period. But then, Dylan Duke scored on a breakaway to give them a commanding 4-0 lead at 3:47.

Penn State went on the power play for a third time, as Ethan Edwards was sent to the sin bin for interference. Once again, the Nittany Lions squandered the opportunity.

Then, at 13:23 in the second period, Danny Dzhaniyev scored from the far side to get Penn State on the board, as it became 4-1 Michigan.

Warren took another penalty right after the play for interference. Penn State didn’t score, but with six seconds left on the advantage, a skirmish broke out next to Barczewski. Xander Lamppa and Mark Estapa were given matching roughing minors.

Four minutes into the third period, Reese Laubach scored to cut the deficit in half to cut Michigan’s lead to 4-2. Ryan Kirwan and Dzhaniyev had the assists.

Aiden Fink took a hooking penalty soon after. After several clearances, Penn State regained full strength.

Five minutes later, Penn State was on the penalty kill again. Lamppa returned to the box for the second time, and it was for charging Barczewski on this occasion. Michigan once again played well throughout most of the sequence and had several chances, including a shot that hit the post. However, Penn State killed the penalty.

Then, Michigan returned the favor with Tyler Duke heading to the sin bin for interference. Penn State controlled the puck throughout the advantage but didn’t generate enough offense, and Michigan regained full strength with less than five minutes remaining in regulation.

Suddenly, Jarod Crespo sniped a goal to make it 4-3 with 3:55 left. Michigan’s once-behemoth lead was hanging on by a thread.

Souliere was pulled for the extra attacker, and Michigan eventually scored to make it 5-3. Any hopes of a comeback were slammed shut with under a minute to go.


  • Conceding two goals right away was a really bad tone to set. This gave Michigan all the momentum it needed to keep dominating the game.
  • Once again, Penn State needed to be better on power play opportunities. Going 0-for-6 simply wasn’t good enough in a game of this magnitude.
  • Head coach Guy Gadowsky recently talked about the importance of firing on all cylinders and properly executing. That didn’t happen until later in the game, but what was just as frustrating is he claims the team knows what it needs to do better, and that Penn State still can’t put everything together as frequently as necessary.

What’s Next

Penn State and Michigan finish the series at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 17. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland, which means he's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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