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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Roll Michigan 6-1

by on December 01, 2016 9:30 PM

No. 7 Penn State hockey opened up Big Ten play with a 6-1 win over Michigan. The Nittany Lions improved to 12-1-1 on the year with Thursday night's victory.

How It Happened:

Andrew Sturtz found the back of the net just 7:56 into the game to open the scoring on a scrum close to the net. From there both teams traded blows but the Nittany Lions controlled much of the pace of play and out shot the Wolverines 15-8 in the frame. The second period was all Penn State though as Liam Folkes scored just 4:42 into the period stealing a puck in the offensive zone and slotting it past Michigan goalie Zach Nagelvoort. Trevor Hamilton sniped home a shot from the top of the zone on the man advantage to make it 3-0. Michigan and Penn State both took two of the nation's best penalty kills into Thursday's game.

Ricky DeRosa added another tally to end the period as Penn State went up 4-0.

In the third period it was more of the same as Sturtz added his second of the night before Michigan finally got a shot past Peyton Jones to make it 5-1. Erik Autio padded the margin late in the game for the final of 6-1 with Dennis Smirnov picking up his third assist of the night.

It Was Over When:

Penn State scored two goals in the final five minutes of the second period to turn a 2-0 lead into a 4-0 second intermission margin. Liam Folkes scored first, stealing a puck in the offensive zone before Ricky DeRosa slotted home another just three minutes later. Penn State had largely controlled the pace of play all evening but by the end of the second period had the goals to show for it. Michigan would change goalies in the final frame but never really threatened the four gaol margin.

Stat Of The Game:

Dennis Smirnov's three assists and Andrew Sturtz's two goals put both players in the Top 3 of those categories respectively. In fact Smirnov is now tied for the national lead in assists while Sturtz is second in the nation in goals. Sturtz led the way with seven shots on goal.

Player Of The Game:

It's hard to argue with Dennis Smirnov who has easily been Penn State's best player all season long. Sturtz has the goals but the duo have been clicking thanks in large part to the Russian's passing ability. Peyton Jones gets the nod as well, fighting off a few tough shots during Penn State's win on Thursday night. All told this was a team effort, but Smirnov had a three assist night, so he takes home the honor.

Up Next:

Penn State and Michigan take the ice again Friday night at 7 at  Pegula Ice Arena for the conclusion of the Big Ten's opening series of the season.

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