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No. 6 Penn State Hockey’s Woes At Michigan Continue With 4-1 Loss

by on December 07, 2019 12:09 AM

No. 6 Penn State hockey’s (11-5-0, 6-3-0 Big Ten) losing streak at Yost Ice Arena extended to nine in a row Saturday night after a brutal 4-1 loss to the Wolverines (6-9-2, 2-6-1 Big Ten) in the first of a two game weekend series in Ann Arbor. 

Alex Limoges scored the only goal for the Nittany Lions in the third period, long after the game was already decided. 

Peyton Jones played as well as he possibly could have in the loss, stopping 25-of-28 shots despite receiving little to no help from his defense. 

How It Happened

Guy Gadowsky and the Nittany Lions didn’t get the start they wanted on Saturday night at Yost. 

After five minutes of pretty even play to open the first period, the Penn State’s league-leading power play unit got its first chance of the night. However, Michigan was the beneficiary of the Nittany Lions’ man-advantage, as two Wolverines broke out on a fast break and scored a short-handed goal despite Clayton Phillips’ best defensive effort to give Michigan a 1-0 lead at 6:10 in the first period. 

Penn State entered the first intermission only trailing by one thanks to Peyton Jones, who made a handful of spectacular saves in the first period to prevent Michigan from extending its lead any further.

The second period picked up right where the first period ended, as the back-and-forth play resumed between the Nittany Lions and the Wolverines. It took over halfway through the middle frame before either team managed to find the back of the net.

Michigan once again broke loose on a 2-on-0 break, and Johnny Beecher beat a helpless Peyton Jones through the five-hole to make the lead 2-0 with 9:02 still left to play in the second period.

The Nittany Lions were lucky to hold the deficit at two goals, as they struggled to keep the puck out of their own zone as the second period drew to close. 

Sure enough, it didn’t take the Wolverines long into the third period to add another goal. Alex Limoges got called for a tripping penalty early in the period, setting up Michigan’s power play unit for a golden opportunity that it converted into its third goal of the night with 17:25 left on the clock. 

After Michigan’s third goal, Guy Gadowsky made the decision to swap Peyton Jones for Oskar Autio in an attempt to inject some life into his team.

As the clock wound down in the final period, Gadowsky swapped Autio for an extra skater to help Penn State try to claw its way back into the game, but instead, Michigan buried its fourth goal of the night on the empty net to pretty much lock up the win with 4:42 remaining in the third period. 

Alex Limoges scored a breakaway goal with 1:11 left in the game to spoil the Wolverine’s shutout, but it was too little, too late as Michigan held on to win 4-1. 

Takeaways

  • The Nittany Lions struggled with transition defense all night, as the Wolverines were able to capitalize on a handful of odd-man rushes. The defense did not hold up its end of the bargain on a night where it had to be almost perfect for Penn State to overcome its struggles at Yost. 
  • The defense didn’t do much to help out Peyton Jones, but the senior goaltender made at least a dozen jaw-dropping saves to keep the game close. His benching in the third period was not a result of poor play on his part but an indictment of the team’s play in front of him.
  • It seemed like the Nittany Lions left their offense on the bus on Saturday, as they never quite looked themselves. They struggled to keep the puck in their offensive zone, and their only goal on the night came long after the game was decided. Guy Gadowsky will have some adjustments to make ahead of tomorrow night’s rematch. 

What’s Next

Penn State will try to turn its fortunes at Yost Ice Arena around in game two of the weekend series tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m.

 



This post was originally published by the staff at Onward State. Follow Onward State on Twitter @OnwardState.
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