The Nittany Lions did not come storming out of the gates, and Michigan State was able to control the first few minutes of the game. Both teams had an unsuccessful power play during the first half of the period, but Penn State found its legs during its penalty kill. Kevin Kerr broke the scoreless tie with just under eight minutes left in the period after a great feed from behind the net by Sam Sternschein. The Spartans had a couple chances towards the end of the period but was not able to get one past Peyton Jones. The first period ended with Penn State leading 1-0.
Penn State kept the pressure on to start the second period, and extended the lead to two six minutes in. Brandon Biro received a cross ice pass and drove to the net. He was tripped and the puck slipped behind the net where a waiting Nikita Pavlychev used his long arms and beat Drew DeRidder to the near post. Penn State was also given a power play from the Biro trip. Nate Sucese set up on the near circle and fired a beautiful one time slap shot past DeRidder. Michigan State didn't let giving up two goals in under two minutes get to them, however. After a bad defensive turnover, Patrick Khodorenko beat Jones top shelf for Sparty's first goal of the game. Michigan State made things even more interesting on the power play after a Taro Hirose shot took an unlucky bounce off Jones' stick and into the net. Neither team was able to score again, and Penn State once again took a one goal lead into the locker room.
Michigan State out worked the Nittany Lions and the occasional mumble and groan from the Pegula faithful could be heard. The mumbles turned into boos when Evan Barratt was sent to the box for a cross check that looked like it would not have knocked over a balloon. Luckily, Penn State was able to kill the Barratt penalty. Three minutes later, Liam Folkes proved that every shot is a good shot and put one in from below the icing line to regain a two goal lead. The defense was able to shut down Michigan State for the last ten minutes of the game and keep the Hirose - Khodorenko - Lewandowski line from staging a come back.
Kevin Kerr (2)
Nikita Pavlychev (11)
Nate Sucese (9)
Patrick Khodorenko (13)
Taro Hirose (10)
Liam Folkes (10)
- The grey jerseys are a great addition. They're simple and sleek and fit right in with the style of the hockey uniforms. Now all we need is a pink and black alternate.
- Peyton Jones was the best player on the ice tonight. Besides the bounce off his stick on the Hirose goal, he didn't make any mistakes, controlled his crease, and made some high quality saves early in the game to keep Sparty out of the net.
- Evan Bell is so good. He's been an instant jolt of energy in the offensive zone and helped to sure up a Penn State defensive group that has struggled to be consistent this season.
- Michigan State's one good line is good, and if you aren't focused for a split second, they can make you pay. When it came down to crunch time at the end of the third period, Penn State was able to shut them down and keep things comfortable.
- Penn State is a better team than Michigan State. Tonight wasn't a perfect game, but the team's depth showed tonight in winning a game it should have won.