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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Push Past Michigan State 5-2

by on January 13, 2017 10:30 PM

Penn State hockey improved to 15-2-1 on Friday night as the Nittany Lions erased an early 1-0 deficit to beat Michigan State 5-2. Penn State is now 4-1 in conference play while the Spartans fall to 4-14-1 on the year. Here is what you need to know.

How It Happened:

Michigan State started hot with good offensive zone pressure and a goal on the man advantage gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead as Zach Osborn ripped a shot over Peyton Jones' shoulder just 1:52 into the contest.

From there Penn State started to work its way into the game and it was Chase Berger batting a deflected puck out of the air to tie the game just four minutes later. The Nittany Lions outshot Michigan State 16-7 in the period but the flow of play was far more even for most of the frame. Vince Pedrie broke the tie with just over four minutes to go in the period to make it 2-1.

In the second period Michigan State responded with its best effort thus far but Liam Folkes was the first to find the back of the net as Penn State went out in front 3-1 just 3:30 into the period. Folkes took a pass from Brett Murray who made his Penn State debut on Friday night. 

A turnover in the offensive zone gave Michigan State life though as Joe Cox beat Jones on a shorthanded breakaway to cut back into the Penn State lead midway through the frame. Neither team would score again making it 3-2 after two periods.

In a game Penn State controlled but didn't play at its best, an Andrew Sturtz tally early in the final period helped the Nittany Lions avoid a difficult upset and David Goodwin's score with 13:48 gone by in the final period left little doubt that a comeback wasn't in the works as Penn State went ahead to win 5-2.

It Was Over When:

Leading 4-2 Penn State didn't feel quite as in control as the score indicated with Michigan State moving well in the offensive zone, so as David Goodwin found the back of the net, a 5-2 lead with just under eight minute to go in regulation sealed the deal. Andrew Sturtz's goal early in the period helped shift momentum in Penn State's favor, but the game wasn't entirely over until it became a three-goal margin.

Stat Of The Game:

Chase Berger's goal may have been impressive but his 16-of-23 faceoff performance was a key part of Penn State's victory on Friday night. Beyond that the line combo of Sturtz, Smirnov and Richard managed 11 shots on net but just a single goal all night for the highly touted unit. It was once again David Goodwin leading the way with a goal and assist as his line managed its second straight productive outing.

Penn State also got 46 shots on goal, while Peyton Jones made 24 saves to tie Penn State's single-season record for wins at 13.

Player Of The Game:

Berger's goal and faceoff production were both keys to a game where the Nittany Lions didn't play quite up to par despite the 5-2 victory. All told it was the little things that won the game and Berger was a big part of that. Erik Autio was also quietly productive with two assists.

Up Next:

Both teams hit the ice Saturday night at 7 p.m. The game is scheduled to be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

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