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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Pick Up Crucial 2-1 Overtime Victory

by on January 25, 2020 9:15 PM

Penn State needed that one and it got it. In total it took an extra 39 seconds but freshman forward Connor McMenamin bounced on a loose puck and slotted home the biggest goal of the Nittany Lions season, propelling Penn State to a 2-1 victory and a tie for first place in the Big Ten with Michigan State in East Lansing.

The Nittany Lions earned this one doing all the things that had once been their weaknesses. On the defensive end of the ice it was a lockdown performance that kept Michigan State from generating long stretches of quality chances. Peyton Jones was outstanding in goal, making 42 saves in the effort, his only blemish a breakaway opportunity.

All of that good play paid off in Penn State's favor with Nate Sucese scoring inside of a minute to go in the second period, a shot ripping past John Lethemon, who stopped 31 shots on Saturday in his fourth solid outing against Penn State of the year.

A bad bounce and turnover led to an early shorthanded breakaway by Michigan State, and all of a sudden an intermission of positive vibes and momentum shifted against the Nittany Lions, once again facing down a tall order in a defensive game on the road.

Both teams had their chances, Penn State a post on a shot by McMenamin, Michigan State a close call in the final seconds of regulation.

For each team the stakes were clear entering overtime, perhaps even more dire for a Penn State team that has seen its star fall over the past few weeks despite all kinds of preseason and regular season anticipation and hype.

Win, and you're in the thick of the Big Ten race for another week, lose and suddenly the race might start to leave you behind with only eight regular season games to go. It's playoff time, and that means win or go home.

And 39 seconds later, Penn State opted to move on, and to go home, ready to host Notre Dame next weekend for an equally crucial Big Ten series.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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