The other huge matchup on the weekend was No.2 Minnesota vs No. 3 Michigan, where the Golden Gophers swept the highly touted Wolverines, jumping Michigan State for No. 2 in the big ten conference standings.
Luckily, the Nittany Lions still hold the No. 1 spot in the big ten conference with an 11-3 record overall and a 5-3 conference record.
Friday Night- Nittany Lions Rally Back for Dramatic Victory
Penn State Hockey overcame third-period adversity Friday night, scoring with just 56.6 seconds left to defeat Michigan State.
The win pushed Penn State Hockey’s record to 11-2 overall and downed the Spartan’s conference record to 8-4-1 on the year.
The Lions opened the scoring once again, as Jimmy Dowd Jr. put the speed boost on, going coast to coast and sneaking a backhand shot through Spartan goaltender, Dylan St. Cyr. Michigan State evened up the scoring soon after, as Matt Basgall slide one past Liam Souliere’s glove side. In total, the first period saw a crazy six goals scored within the 20-minute frame.
Michigan State roofed the puck on the powerplay to go up 2-1, with a goal scored by Sparty forward, Jagger Joshua. Christian Berger then tied the game for Penn State, off a feed from Jared Crespo at the 16:22 mark of the middle frame. Only 23 seconds later the Spartans took the lead, as Cole Krygier used some fancy stickwork in front of the net.
The absurd first-period goal-scoring affair ended with Christian Berger putting in his second of the period, with a seeing-eye shot. The score stayed at 3-3 all the way till the final minute of regulation, when Penn State broke the 0-12 powerplay drought in dramatic fashion, as Tyler Gratton scored with 56.6 seconds left in the game.
An immensely important drought to break, as Penn State Hockey has an established top-five scoring offense per game, with a disappointing powerplay thus far. The last-minute tally held on to defeat the Michigan State Spartans 4-3.
Saturday Night- Nittany Lions Drop Series Finale
The Spartans came out scoring early and often, fired up after losing a competitive game the night before.
Sparty scored three goals in the first and the second period, beating Penn State Hockey by a score of 7-3.
Overall, the loss dropped the Nittany Lions record to 11-3, with a conference record of 5-3-1. Matt Basgall scored his second of the series only a few minutes into the game, and the avalanche quickly started. Michigan State increased its lead to 3-0 with two goals in less than three minutes as Jeremy Davidson and Jesse Tucker lit the lamp and sent Liam Souliere to warm the bench for the remainder of the game. Although a tough start from Liam Souliere did not have much of a factor. Penn State kept battling, as Christian Sarlo put one in for the Nittany Lion’s first goal of the game, making it 3-1. Soon after that, the Nittany Lions continued the powerplay success, benefiting from a five-minute major penalty assessed to Michigan State, and scoring twice in a 59-second frame to tie the game. Tyler Gratton and Kevin Wall were the respective goal scorers. As the second period rolled along, Michigan State regained the lead, as Karsen Dorwart at the 10:41 mark. Michigan State scored two more before the second ended, goals contributed by Cole Krygier and Daniel Russell. Dorwart would go on to put in an empty netter late in the third, establishing the 7-3 victory for Michigan State.
Nittany Lion Takeaways
- Penn State Hockey went on to score three powerplay goals in the series, putting them at 3 for 15 in the last two weeks, with a 20% powerplay percentage as of late. While this is not where the high-flying offense should be, it’s somewhere to start. Teams on the rise (according to Pairwise rankings) with excellent powerplay percentages include (#13) Umass, and (#6) Harvard.
- Liam Souliere got pulled after letting up three goals in the first period during the Saturday night affair, a rare occasion. Heading into the matchup, Liam had a .928 save percentage, good for second in the big ten. It was a clear-cut message to the team around him, not so much his capabilities of him. Backup goaltender for Penn State, Noah Grannan, had only played in two games this season out of the 13 priors. It does bring up good questions for the steady tendy. Is he being used too often? Do the Nittany Lions need Grannan to step up for at least one conference match-up? These are very vital decisions for Guy Gadowsky, as the tough schedule continues, Penn State needs to keep winning, but remember to keep Souliere healthy and ready for tournament season.
Penn State Hockey has little rest before playing a nonconference matchup against Alaska Fairbanks this Tuesday and Wednesday. It is the last matchup before Thanksgiving break when the Lions jump right back into conference play in early December beginning with Ohio State. This a perfect opportunity to get Noah Grannan some reps and Liam Souliere some rest