Sunday, December 4, 2022

MSU hockey swept by Penn State, still winless in Big Ten play

January 16, 2017
Senior wingman JT Stenglein (22) expresses emotion during the second period of the 52nd Annual Great Lakes Invitational third-place game against the University of Michigan on Dec. 30, 2016 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The Spartans were defeated by the Wolverines in overtime, 5-4.
Senior wingman JT Stenglein (22) expresses emotion during the second period of the 52nd Annual Great Lakes Invitational third-place game against the University of Michigan on Dec. 30, 2016 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The Spartans were defeated by the Wolverines in overtime, 5-4. —
Photo by Nic Antaya | and Nic Antaya The State News

After a weekend sweep by then-No. 4 Penn State (16-2-1, 5-1 Big Ten), MSU hockey (4-15-1, 0-6 Big Ten) now holds a nine-game losing streak.

The Spartans are still winless in Big Ten play after faltering 5-2 in the opener and then a 5-3 loss to wrap up the series. MSU, though, started the weekend off strong.

After Penn State's forward Dylan Richard was called for hooking in game one, sophomore defenseman Zach Osburn capitalized on the man-advantage 55 seconds into the power play.

A cross-ice pass by sophomore forward Mason Appleton found the stick of Osburn, and his wrist shot from the right circle cruised over Penn State goaltender Peyton Jones’s left shoulder, giving MSU a 1-0 lead.

The Nittany Lions soon responded to the Spartans’ opening period goal. At 5:53 into the first frame, Penn State’s Chase Berger slapped the puck off a redirect near the goal crease, and the shot managed to sneak past junior goaltender Ed Minney, tying the game at 1-1.

With 3:18 left in the first period, Penn State took its first lead of the game.

Penn State forward Vince Pedrie’s wrist shot from the left point sailed by Minney and gave the Nittany Lions a 2-1 lead.

After heading into the locker room with a 2-1 lead and outshooting MSU 16-7 in shots after the first period, the Nittany Lions found the back of the net 3:30 into the second frame.

A feed from forward Brett Murray to forward Liam Folkes led to another Penn State goal and further extended the Spartan deficit to two.

Fortunately for MSU, senior forward Joe Cox responded 6:28 later in the second period to cut the Nittany Lions’ lead.

Cox, on a breakaway attempt while shorthanded, made a swift deke to deceive Jones. The move led to Cox putting the puck in the net to trim the Spartans' deficit to one.

After the score, however, the Nittany Lions found ways to respond. Forward Andrew Sturtz at 4:22 into the final period found the back of the net moments after a power play, and the goal gave Penn State a 4-2 lead.

With 6:12 remaining in the game, David Goodwin’s goal extended the Spartans’ deficit to three goals. The Spartans couldn’t find a way to mount a late comeback and fell 5-2 in the first game of the weekend series. MSU was outshot 46-26 in the loss.

“(We) battled hard (on Friday),” head coach Tom Anastos said after the 5-2 loss. "(It was a) good college game. We just couldn’t execute in certain situations to get that tying goal … but our penalty kill did a nice job (on Friday). Power play got a goal and moved the puck around pretty well. I liked most of our even strength game, but couldn’t execute enough and sustain it to get a win.”

Despite Friday’s loss, Minney had a career night. The 6-foot-5 goaltender recorded 41 saves, which is the most in his MSU career. His previous high was set against Minnesota on Dec. 9, when he registered 40 saves in a 4-2 loss to the Gophers.

The very next day, it was once again the Spartans who struck first.

After a pass from Appleton above the left circle to freshman forward Taro Hirose, his slapshot was close to the blue line and was blocked by Jones. Hirose kept the play alive by picking up the rebound after Cox failed to gain control of the puck close to the net. After a spin move from Hirose, a wrist shot from the freshman forward in the right circle went by Jones to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead with 6:48 left in the first period.

The Nittany Lions went into the locker room at the conclusion of the first period trailing 1-0, but came out strong to begin the second period.

After redshirt-senior defenseman Rhett Holland was called for tripping 13 seconds into the second frame, Penn State’s Berger took advantage of the power play with a deflection 15 seconds later that resulted in a goal. His goal, 29 seconds into the second period, tied the game at 1-1.

With 5:28 remaining in the second period, the Spartans took back the lead after a power play goal from Appleton.

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Appleton passed to Osburn who then fed Hirose, and his slap shot from the left point was tipped by Appleton. The tip got by Jones and the Spartans recorded a 2-1 lead.

Going into the intermission, the Spartans had the lead and kept it for nearly half the third period. However, Penn State tied the game, 2-2, after a Spartan turnover led to a Penn State rush that resulted in a goal from Ricky DeRosa with 10:29 left in the game.

The Spartans had the lead with an upset in mind, but the Nittany Lions had other plans.

Two goals within nine seconds with just less than five minutes left in the game gave the Nittany Lions a 4-2 lead, which all but crushed the Spartans’ hopes at an upset.

But it didn’t stop there.

With 2:10 left in the game, Denis Smirnov recorded a goal, giving Penn State a 5-2 lead.

The Spartans ended their weekend sweep with a late-game goal as freshman defenseman Damian Chrcek found the back of the net with 12 seconds left in the game, but it wasn’t enough as MSU fell, 5-3. The goal was Chrcek's first point in his career at MSU.

“I liked how hard our team played,” Anastos said in a press release following the second game. “I didn’t think we played smart enough for long enough. We made costly (turnovers) that gave them a chance to really take the momentum and they did. That opened a door for a change and shift in momentum and you can’t make mistakes on the road and win.”

A day removed from breaking his career-high saves in a game with 41, Minney broke that record again on Saturday as the goaltender registered 46 saves in the loss.

The Spartans will now face University of Michigan in a two-game home-and-home series next weekend. Friday’s game will be held at the Yost Ice Arena before the teams come back to East Lansing for the second game of the series. Both games can be viewed on the Big Ten Network.

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