Penn State sophomore Blake Gober (Colleyville, Tx.) crashed the net in overtime redirecting the puck across the goal line as the 15th-ranked Nittany Lions defeated Michigan, 5-4, in Big Ten Conference action this evening from Pegula Ice Arena.
Penn State improves to 4-3-0 on the year and 2-1-0 in the Big Ten with the victory while the Wolverines fall to 3-2-0 overall and 0-1-0 in conference action.
“I feel that, even if we lost, I thought we played our best game [of the season],” commented head coach Guy Gadowsky. “Absolutely one hundred percent of the game we played more to our identity and [that win] felt really good.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
· The Wolverines opened the scoring as they scored a pair of goals on their first two shots of the game as Will Lockwood and Dexter Dancs had a couple favorable bounces and each found the back of the net at 2:03 and 5:50, respectively, in the first period.
· Junior Andrew Sturtz (Buffalo, N.Y.) cut the deficit in half for the Nittany Lions as he fired a wrist shot off the shoulder of Michigan goaltender Jack LaFontaine that bounced behind him and across the goal line for the 2-1 score at 16:06.
· Penn State secured the equalizer midway through the second period as sophomore Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.) found classmate Denis Smirnov (Moscow, Russia) and he fired glove side from the left slot to beat LaFontaine for the 2-2 score at 10:11.
· Michigan regained the lead with help from the power-play as Dancs secured his second of the game with a tip out front on Joseph Cecconi’s initial shot from the left dot for the 3-2 edge at 16:01.
· The Nittany Lions again tied the contest as freshman Alex Limoges (Winchester, Va.) secured his first collegiate goal as he punched home the rebound off sophomore Liam Folkes’ (Scarborough, Ont.) initial shot for the 3-3 score at 4:32 of the final period.
· However, Michigan continued to press and just 1:27 later Cooper Marody secured the one-goal lead again for the visitors at 4-3 with his first of the season.
· Junior Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) tied the game for a third time for the Nittany Lions with just over a minute remaining in regulation as he banged home a Sturtz rebound for the 4-4 score at 18:28 of the final frame.
· The winning goal was set up by senior James Robinson (Cochrane, Alberta) as he skated all the way behind the net from left to right and sent a wraparound off the pad of LaFontaine that bounced up and hit off Gober as he was falling into the net after being tripped from behind for the 5-4 win at just 53 seconds of the extra session.
Sophomore Peyton Jones (Langehorn, Pa.) stopped 31 pucks to improve to 4-2-0 on the year with the victory while LaFontaine was the tough luck loser after making 49 saves and falls to 2-1-0 on the year.
· Penn State evens up the all-time series with the Wolverines as each side has won 10 contests, but the Nittany Lions have won four of the last six meetings between the two schools.
· The game-winning goal for Gober was the second of his career and first since opening night of the 2016-17 season against St. Lawrence.
· Penn State extends its sellout streak to 60 straight games.
· Penn State held the 54-35 advantage in shots on goal, the most they have had in a single game so far this season and the first time they have had 50 or more shots since throwing 63 pucks on net against Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals last year.
· Penn State’s streak of five straight games with a power-play goal is snapped as they went 0-for-3 with the man-advantage. Michigan was 1-for-2 on the power-play.
· Sturtz moves into a tie with David Goodwin ’17 for second on the Penn State all-time goals list with the 44th of his career and is just one shy of Casey Bailey’s all-time program record of 45.
· Sturtz also collected his 21st multi-point game of his career and third this season as he assisted on Berger’s goal. His 71 points are now good for solo fifth on the Penn State career scoring list passing David Glen ’16.
· Berger ties Tommy Olcyzk ’16 for seventh on the Penn State all-time goals list with the 27th of his career and he ties Holstrom for seventh on the all-time points list with 67.
· Smirnov extends his point streak to six games and has now scored a goal in five of his last six games. Smirnov’s 24 career goals now tie Taylor Holstrom ’15 for tenth on the Penn State career goals list.
· Sucese extends his point-streak to four games while senior Erik Autio (Espoo, Finland) makes it five straight games with an assist after setting up the game-tying goal with the secondary assist. Autio is now one assist shy of Luke Juha’s all-time assist record for defensemen at Penn State of 45.
· Freshman Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis.) extends his career-best point-streak to five games with the secondary assist on Sturtz’s first period goal.
Both teams return to action tomorrow evening to conclude their weekend series with an 8 p.m. puck drop.