MSU hockey loses first game ties the second in weekend series with Penn State
Only a week removed from a series split with rival Michigan, MSU hockey (7-20-3, 3-10-1-0) fell to and tied Penn State (18-8-4, 8-5-1-1) in a weekend series at Munn Ice Arena.
In the first game of the weekend, the early staunch defense and quick strike offense of Penn State set the tone for the game, as the Nittany Lions scored two goals in all three periods, easily dispatching the Spartans, 6-1.
“We got outworked, got out-competed,” senior forward and captain Michael Ferrantino said Friday night. “Thought they came out and played well and got to pucks and won battles, and we really didn’t.”
MSU struggled with the high intensity Nittany Lions all night, who slung shot after shot at the net every chance they had. Not even half way through the third period and Penn State had already registered 42 shots on goal. For comparison, MSU held Michigan to 42 shots in each game last weekend.
Penn State cashed in first just over eight minutes into the first period off a nice setup on the power play that left Vince Pedrie all alone just right of the slot. Pedrie’s one timer glanced off the post and into the top shelf passed a sliding Jake Hildebrand.
Tommy Olczyk, son of NBC NHL color commentator Eddie Olczyk, bumped the lead to two goals.
MSU freshman forward Cody Milan chipped in MSU’s lone goal, but it wouldn’t make much more than a dent as Penn State scored the next four goals.
PSU’s Eric Scheid popped in a shot boosting the lead to 3-1. Andrew Sturtz made it 4-1 on a snipe over MSU goalie Jake Hildebrand with 6:28 left in the second period for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State capped off the night in the third period, scoring on a David Goodwin turn around shot early and a Zach Saar snipe late. The 6-1 win by Penn State was never in-doubt as the Nittany Lions out-hustled, out-worked, and won every battle on the night.
“We got beat in every phase of the game,” MSU head coach Tom Anastos said. “They were way better than us.”
Saturday night, however, proved to be a turnaround, as the Spartans came out with a sharper focus and a higher intensity level. The heightened level of competition wouldn’t be enough to sustain a late lead, though, as MSU tied Penn State 2-2, but lost in the shootout 1-0 giving Penn State the extra point in the Big Ten standings.
Though not officially a loss, it sure felt like one to Ferrantino.
“A game you lead basically the whole time, you’re feeling good and it's just kind of pulled out from under you,” Ferrantino said. “That’s the tough part right now.”
Penn State struck first on a weird angle shot from Eric Scheid. Scheid’s shot came when he was below the circle and it found it’s way over Hildebrand’s shoulder making it 1-0 Penn State early.
MSU, however, didn’t sit back. Instead, the Spartans pushed the pace and kept Penn State’s attack largely at bay while leading a charge of their own.
MSU’s effort would pay off in the second when a stretch of buzzing around the cage led to a Matt DeBlouw wrist shot, which beat PSU goalie Eamon McAdam over the blocker.
Holding Penn State to only six shots in the period, MSU launched an aggressive forecheck pouring 17 shots on goal in the period. One of those shots would find the tape of Ferrantino in the later half of the period on the power play.
Ferrantino took the rebound and snapped off the stick of a sprawling McAdam and into the top of the net giving MSU a 2-1 lead.
But the same story that has plagued MSU all season would haunt the Spartans one more time.
A crucial interference penalty by John Draeger led to Luke Juha goal for Penn State, thus knotting the game up at 2-2 with 5:27 to play in the game.
Neither team could score in overtime officially ending the contest in a tie, but Penn State would win the ensuing shootout with Ricky DeRosa scoring the lone goal in the second round. The shootout win gave Penn State the extra point.
“Liked our effort tonight,” Anastos said. “Disappointed we couldn’t come up with that goal to win the game. The shootout is a coin toss but you leave feeling bad.”
MSU had a 180-degree performance from the night before, but it still found itself on the losing end prompting Tom Anastos to say this:
“A big change in performance from last night, which that’s the positive,” Anastos said. “The frustrating part is, why? ...We have to find a level of consistency so that we don’t have such a swing.”
MSU hockey travels to Wisconsin for a weekend series with the Badgers Feb. 19-20.