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Penn State Men’s Hockey Upsets No. 14 Michigan 4-2

Penn State men’s hockey (12-14-3, 4-12-3 Big Ten) took down the No. 14 Michigan Wolverines (15-11-3, 8-9-2 Big Ten) 4-2 at Pegula Ice Arena Saturday.

After a rocky start where Michigan scored the opening goal, the Nittany Lions managed to tie the game up before the end of the first period and claimed a lead in the second period. Penn State then put away the Wolverines in a chippy, physical third period with another pair of goals before capping the night with a trick shot, long distance empty-netter.

How It Happened

Though Penn State started off hot, securing the game’s first four shots and controlling tempo through the early minutes, Michigan quelled the rising flames with a timely fifth-minute goal. TJ Hughes carried enough momentum through the neutral zone to speed past the Nittany Lion forecheck and put the puck away on the breakaway.

A Michigan cross-checking penalty put Penn State on the power play two minutes later. The advantage unit delivered, scoring in its first 20 seconds with an extra skater as Reese Laubach tapped home Aiden Fink’s rebound with his backhand to set the score at an even 1-1.

Ethan Edwards set the Nittany Lions up on their second power play when he was assessed an interference penalty with five minutes left in the first frame. Penn State put the puck at the doorstep throughout its time man-up but wouldn’t convert before the penalty expired.

Edwards returned to the sin bin two minutes later, though, getting caught holding Ryan Kirwan. The buzzer sounded before the penalty expired, but Michigan killed the remainder of the infraction after intermission.

The Nittany Lions kept the pressure up through the first half of the second period, spending most of the time in the offensive zone. Souliere made big saves, too, as he anchored a physically-minded defense that kept the Wolverines locked to the perimeter.

Michigan held on as Penn State’s shot total ballooned throughout the frame’s final minutes, but the dam broke with 2:25 to play in the second. Dylan Gratton unleashed a laser from the blue line that hit the twine before Barczewski knew what was coming. Penn State kept its 2-1 lead as the period ended.

The Wolverines answered the Lions early in the third, knotting the game at 2-2 on a Frank Nazar slapshot.

With 12:29 on the clock, Alex Servagno put a low shot on a cage that pulled Barczewski well off his line, and the goalie’s mistake left the net wide open. Dane Dowiak tapped home the rebound to put Penn State back in front 3-2.

The hockey gods then blessed Pegula Ice Arena with what might be the only recorded instance of both teams challenging the same play for head contact and both challenges succeeding in finding major penalties. Jimmy Dowd Jr. was found guilty for the Nittany Lions while Michigan’s Mark Estapa was also kicked from the tilt.

Michigan got caught slashing a minute later, ultimately giving Penn State its fourth power play of the night with 7:30 to play in the final frame. The unit put six shots on goal, but the Wolverines survived the short-handed scare and killed the penalty.

As the clock ticked away, Barczewski was forced to vacate the net to give the Wolverines a better chance to tie the game, but Laubach tallied his second goal of the game with a rink-long empty-net goal to extend the final score to 4-2.

Takeaways

  • Reese Laubach hates to lose. Aside from scoring three goals this weekend, his gritty play at the corners and in the slot kept the puck with the Nittany Lions and freed up space in dangerous attacking areas to keep the offense humming.
  • Souliere had a huge series. More than just saving the easy pucks, he stuffed plenty of “sure thing” shots from around the zone to keep Penn State within striking distance.

What’s Next?

Penn State will remain in Happy Valley next weekend where it’ll face No. 4 Wisconsin in its last home stand of the season. The first matchup is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, February 17.

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About the Author

Jack Scott

Jack is a junior industrial engineering major from Pittsburgh, PA. Sometimes, he enjoys the misunderstanding of his friends and family that Penn State Club Ski Racing may be a D1 sport and usually won't correct them. Jack is way too into Thundercat for his own good. Follow him on Twitter @joscottIV and Instagram @jackscott._iv

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