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FINAL: MSU hockey downed on Senior Day to Penn State, 4-1

February 25, 2017
The Spartans huddle before the game against Penn State on Feb. 25, 2017 at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans were defeated by the Nittany Lions, 4-1
The Spartans huddle before the game against Penn State on Feb. 25, 2017 at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans were defeated by the Nittany Lions, 4-1 —
Photo by Sundeep Dhanjal | and Sundeep Dhanjal The State News

As the MSU hockey team played its final home game of the season Saturday, three goals in the first period by No. 11 Penn State took out any chance of a memorable send off for MSU’s senior class.

In a game brimful of penalties, the Nittany Lions defeated MSU, 4-1.

Senior forward Villiam Haag recorded one goal and fifth-year senior defenseman Rhett Holland added an assist in their final home game of their MSU careers. 

Both teams combined for 19 penalties, with seven coming in the opening period. Two goals came from 4-on-4 chances and PSU scored on one man-advantage attempt.

MSU carried over its first period shots on goal struggles from Friday night’s 4-2 loss to Penn State to begin the series. The Spartans, who accumulated just two shots on net in the first frame of Friday’s loss, recorded a mere four shots in the first period Saturday.

11:18 into the first period, the Nittany Lions got on the board first with a goal by Penn State's Nate Sucese.

Senior forward and captain David Goodwin made a pass near the right circle to Sucese, who was close to the goal crease.

After receiving the puck, Sucese instantly took a shot as it got by junior goaltender Ed Minney for the first goal of the game.

On the Nittany Lions first power play of the night, Penn State capitalized, scoring its second goal of the game. Sophomore forward Brennan Sanford was called for interference, and 1:23 left in the power play for Penn State, Vince Pedrie made a pass near the right circle to Erik Autio. Autio faked a slap shot and then passed to Denis Smirnov. Smirnov took the puck and skated near the top of the right circle, where his wrist shot would sail by Minney for the power-play goal.

The Nittany Lions continued to pile onto their lead before the conclusion of the first period on a 4-on-4 opportunity.

With 50 seconds left in the opening frame, Penn State forward Brandon Biro and Sucese managed to get an odd-man rush chance. Biro’s pass from the left circle to Sucese set up a Sucese wrist shot from the right circle. The Spartans’ lone defender, freshman defenseman Mitch Eliot, was unable to prevent a Penn State goal as Sucese’s wrist shot cruised by Minney, giving Sucese his second goal of the night and third of the game for the NIttany Lions.

Despite three goals in the first period, neither team was able to score in the second period as the Nittany Lions went into the locker room after forty minutes with a 3-0 lead.

The Spartans managed to cut the deficit to two with 9:22 left in the third period for the second 4-on-4 goal of the game.

After freshman forward Patrick Khodorenko won the draw in Penn State's zone, Haag picked up the puck and passed to Holland. Holland — at the right point — then passed to Khodorenko.

Khodorenko skated from the right circle to behind the goal line, where the senior defenseman would try to sneak one in past Peyton Jones.

Jones saved the initial shot by Khodorenko, but Haag was able to keep possession of the puck and find the back of the net for MSU’s first goal of the contest.

The Nittany Lions quickly responded, scoring their fourth goal of the night 1:30 seconds later as Andrew Sturtz scored on a rebound in the slot.

The Spartans finished the game with 23 shots on goal as the No. 1 team in the nation in shots on goal per game finished with 35.

MSU will be on the road for its final two series of the regular season beginning with Ohio State next weekend before wrapping up the regular season at Minnesota. 

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