Penn State Hockey Suffers Heartbreaking Season-Ending Loss to Michigan
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — After a fierce battle with the Wolverines, Penn State Hockey is officially done for the season.
The Michigan Wolverines move onto the Frozen Four ready to face off against Quinnipiac. Meanwhile, The Nittany Lions ended the year ranked highest in the pairwise ranking they have ever been.
Here’s what down in Penn State Hockey’s 2-1 overtime loss to Michigan:
It was a scoreless opening frame as Penn State fans packed the PPL Center.
A fast-paced game led to Michigan swarming on the forecheck, causing Penn State to have careless turnovers in high-danger scoring areas. In addition, Penn State goaltender, Liam Souliere had to make impressive saves every few minutes.
The shots stayed dead even going into the first intermission at 14-14, with Michigan holding much more time on attack. Happy Valley did get some quality looks but no sustained offensive pressure.
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The second period started in a similar fashion, with Souliere on his toes. Michigan soon got sent their second powerplay opportunity of the game, with Tyler Paquette getting an interference penalty. The Nittany Lions kept a perfect penalty kill, getting powerplay time of their own, and capitalizing on it with a minute left in the period. MacEachern managed to put home the rebound from Berger and DeNaples.
A tremendously timed goal from a struggling powerplay unit only firing at 15.3%. Both defensemen assisting on the opening goal were vital parts of Friday’s 8-0 victory against Michigan Tech. This marks Connor MacEachern’s 12th goal of the year.
Penn State came out firing from the home ice roar of the crowd, only to give Michigan their third and fourth powerplay of the game.
It was at the 7:51 mark of the final frame that Adam Fantilli tied the game, sliding a rebound home past Souliere. As regulation time winded down, the hatred grew riding into overtime.
Regulation shots were in favor of Michigan 41-31. It took Penn State a couple periods but time on attack grew exponentially, the last few minutes of the third dominated by the Nittany Lions.
In heartbreaking fashion, Michigan forward Mackie Somoskevich marched down the ice and wired a wrist shot into the net 52 seconds into overtime. A true dagger to goaltender Liam Souliere who earned 41 saves on the night.
Till Next Year
In all honesty, Penn State exceeded everyone’s expectations this year. They earned an overall record of 22-15-1, with a conference record of 10-13-1.
Plenty of memorable moments happened in the regular season, such as beating No. 1 ranked teams in back-to-back weekends in Minnesota and Michigan. They had plenty of transfer students come in and lift the program a step in Ture Linden and Ashton Calder.
Even with all this, the tournament is what matters, and Guy Gadowsky will look to make another appearance in his 13th year coaching Penn State next season.