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Penn State Hockey: Turnovers, Penalties Doom Nittany Lions In Loss

by on March 12, 2016 6:00 AM

For much of the opening 20 minutes of play things were looking up for Penn State.

Eamon McAdam was strong in net, the Nittany Lion offense was humming and Andrew Sturtz's 18th goal of the year just over 2 minutes into regulation gave Penn State some hope on the road.

But with 4:46 left in the period a turnover in the defensive zone gave one of the best top lines in the entire nation a great look on net, and the Wolverines capitalized, tying the game at 1-1 after 20 minutes of play.

At the time it was far from a catastrophic result. A tie game at Yost Arena is a welcome sight for any team and the Nittany Lions had put together a strong 20 minutes of play. But the turnover and a period of four straight minutes shorthanded proved to be the kind of foreshadowing that spells doom by the end of 60 minutes of play.

Nearly six minutes into the second frame it was another turnover that led the a Michigan goal and what was essentially a breakaway. It was the only goal of the frame, but if not for several key stops by McAdam it was fortunate score to be sure for the visiting Nittany Lions. And with a power play carrying over into the third and final period there was work still left to be done.

If Penn State had managed to kill off the advantage to open the period things may have gone differently on Friday night, but a Michigan goal just 30 seconds into the period opened up a 3-1 advantage and the floodgates for one of the nation's best teams.

Three minutes later it became 4-1.

Three minutes after that it was 5-1 and McAdam was pulled from the game.

And in even less time a shorthanded tally made it 6-1.

The rest as they say, was history. Aside from one final goal to make it a 7-1 final.

So Penn State faces an even taller order on Saturday night. To upend a Michigan team that is playing on Senior Night with bigger and better things in their sights. It will likely take a win on Saturday and a win in the Big Ten tournament to keep the hopes and dreams of a program-first NCAA tournament berth alive. Far from impossible, but hardly likely given how the Nittany Lions played on Friday.

But you just never know, and in turn Penn State and Michigan will close out the regular season with another 60 minutes of hockey Saturday at 7:30.

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