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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Roar Past Michigan State In Third Period For 5-3 Win

by on January 14, 2017 10:20 PM

Penn State hockey scored four goals in the third period to erase a 2-1 deficit en route to a 5-3 victory on Saturday night to complete a series sweep of Michigan State. The victory improved the Nittany Lions to 16-2-1 on the year and 5-1-0 in the Big Ten.

“I thought it was a really good game all along,” said Gadowsky. “I don’t think we let up, I thought we played very well the entire game...They scored on the power play and played really well, but we kept on coming. I thought it was an excellent win."

Michigan State opened the scoring 13:12 into the game as Taro Hirose took a turnover and slipped it past Peyton Jones. The freshman goalie made 25 saves on the night, setting Penn State's single season wins record sitting at 14-1-1. Penn State would only outshoot Michigan State 13-11 in the opening frame in a fairly balanced back and forth affair.

The Spartan advantage didn't last for long as Chase Berger found the back of the net just 29 seconds into the second period on the power play taking an assist from Kevin Kerr and Trevor Hamilton. Berger finished the evening with six shots on goal and two scores to his name, the second coming much later in the night.

It was Mason Appleton though who gave Michigan State a 2-1 advantage heading into the third period as he found the back of the net, again on the power play with just over six minutes remaining in the the frame. The Nittany Lions played the stronger period of the two teams, but the 15-9 shots advantage didn't mean much as Michigan State took the lead into the final intermission.

And so Penn State, a team that boasts the nation's top offense and goals per game average faced a rare moment of adversity. Down a goal and playing against a stout defense and outstanding goalkeeping, it was a key 20 minutes to a season that might be the most historic in program history so far.

It's safe to say the Nitty Lions responded.

“Every win in the Big Ten is big, like, every one, and if you’re fortunate enough to sweep in the Big Ten you should celebrate that because it is tough to do,” said Gadowsky. “At this point in the season they’re all big wins, and if you can close out the weekend with a sweep, it’s even bigger.”

There was a lot to remember too.

First it was Ricky DeRosa diving in to tie the game 9:31 into the frame, Pegula Ice Arena increasingly tense and nervous as Michigan State protected the net and stuffed most of Penn State's offensive attempts.

A few minutes later with just under five minutes to play it was Dylan Richard finding the net to give Penn State the lead.

Nine seconds later Chase Berger added his second of the night.

Two minutes following that Denis Smirnov took a no-look pass from Trevor Hamilton and deke past Ed Minney to make it 5-2. In a blink the tension was gone, turned into celebration.

A late goal by Michigan State would cut the deficit to two goals but with just 11 seconds left it was a meaningless tally.

"This could be really just what we needed," Gadowsky added. "It was a tough, tough game, we're fortunate enough that we've been able to coast a little bit in the third, that wasn't that type of game. This was all out for everybody to try and get the win. It sure feels good right now."

Now Penn State looks ahead to next weekend's meeting with No.10 Ohio State, perhaps the biggest so far in the program's young history.

Beyond that co-Big Ten leader Minnesota awaits.

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