Losses suck. This one stings.
Like all games against Michigan, things were physical from the opening faceoff. Michigan scored the first goal of the game four minutes in on a powerplay when Joseph Ceccioni beat Chris Funkey. Penn State would answer back on a power play of its own two minutes later. Evan Barratt laced a slap shot into the right corner of the net. The refs, being blind, needed to see the play on a screen before they gave Barratt his goal. Ludvig Larsson would score Penn State’s second goal at 14:52 on a nifty pass from Denis Smirnov. From behind the net, Smirnov flipped the puck past Michigan’s defenders and Larsson was waiting to bat it out of the air and into the net. The period ended with Penn State holding a 15-10 lead in shots.
Nate Sucese started off the second period with a bang. After Aarne Talvitie was stuffed on his own one-on-one attempt, Sucese would not be denied.
— Penn State Mens Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) November 17, 2018
Strauss Mann’s dignity is still sitting on the ice. Michigan did not roll over, and brought the lead back to one goal five minutes in after a redirection off Nick Pastujov beat Funkey to the near post. The game opened up after Michigan’s that goal. There was even a four minute stretch without a whistle. Towards the end of the period, Penn State was able to pick up the pressure and keep the puck in the offensive zone for a few shifts. Liam Folkes got the goal Penn State deserved with a minute to go in the second, and the period ended with Penn State up 4-2.
Evan Barratt (6)
Ludvig Larsson (4)
Nate Sucese (5)
Nick Pastujov (5)
Liam Folkes (5)
Josh Norris (7)
Jack Becker (2)
Jake Slacker (6)
Jake Slacker (ENG, 7)
All of that fun we had in the first and second periods quickly changed to other, more negative feelings, because Michigan owned the third period. It started with a Josh Norris goal on an awful rebound right after a great penalty kill to make it 4-3. Jack Becker tied the game four minutes later, and then Jake Slaker gave the visitors the lead for good on the power play at 14:34. Funkey was pulled with two minutes to go, and Penn State was able to get pressure with the extra skater, but could not tie the game. Slaker added an empty net goal with 18 seconds left to make the score 6-4. Too soon.
This was a
weirdbad game. For a neutral fan, I’m sure it was probably fun to watch because the hockey was great, but the game somehow managed to be both extremely exciting, kind of boring, and incredibly frustrating all at the same time. Maybe it’s because the students went home. Maybe it’s because Penn State fell apart in the third period.
- Speaking of falling apart in the third period, Penn State fell apart in the third period. Between giving up bad rebounds, not being able to clear the zone, taking stupid penalties, looking gassed in the defensive zone, and taking stupid penalties, it was definitely a period to learn from.
- Splitting time between goaltenders needs to end. Funkey made some really outstanding saves in the first and second periods to keep Michigan from taking control of the game early, and was able to make good saves in the third. But he also made a few small errors in the third that turned into back-breaking goals.
- Penn State can and will score exciting goals against anyone and won’t be out of any of the games it plays this year. It just needs to play much better team defense. And not take stupid penalties.
- Losses are bad. Games over breaks are dumb. That’s all I got.