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No. 16 Penn State Drops 4-2 Decision at Michigan State

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The 16th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions dropped a, 4-2, decision to Michigan State this evening in Big Ten Conference action from Munn Ice Arena in the first game of a weekend series.
 
The loss drops PSU to 13-13-5 on the year and 6-10-5-2 in Big Ten play while the Spartans improve to 11-18-2 overall and 5-14-2-1 in conference action.
 
HOW IT HAPPENED
·        Michigan State opened the scoring early as Brody Stevens skated into the zone and through the right slot firing far post to beat Penn State sophomore goaltender Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) under the right pad for the 1-0 lead at 2:15 of the first period.
·        The Nittany Lions evened the score as sophomore Denis Smirnov (Moscow, Russia) fired intentionally wide from the right slot and the puck bounced off the end boards and right to the stick of sophomore Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.) who finished into the open side of the net from just left of the crease for the 1-1 score at 5:54.
·        The Spartans came right back and regained the lead just over three minutes later as Mitchell Lewandowski fired home a great feed from behind the net by Patrick Khodorenko at 9:07 for the 2-1 advantage.
·        MSU grabbed the 3-1 advantage in the second period as Lewandowski fired home his second of the game off another great feed from Khodorenko at 14:26.
·        Penn State cut the deficit in half with the benefit of a power-play and extra attacker as freshman Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis.) fluttered a shot that redirected off sophomore Nikita Pavlychev and past Spartan net-minder John Lethemon for the 3-2 score at 16:58 of the third period.
·        Taro Hirose hit the empty net for Michigan State to seal the victory at 18:30 of the third period.

GOALTENDING
Jones falls to 12-11-4 on the year after stopping 26 shots while Lethemon improves to 11-16-2 with a 26 save performance of his own.
 
NOTES
·        With his first period goal, Sucese now moves into a tie with David Glen ’16 for eighth on the Penn State all-time goals list with 29 while Smirnov moves past Glen for solo seventh on the Penn State all-time points list with 70 after picking up the primary assist.
·        With his third period assist Autio is now the Penn State all-time leader for assists by a defenseman with 46 breaking a tie he had with Luke Juha ’16.
·        Penn State is now winless in its last eight games (0-6-2) as Michigan State earns its first victory over Penn State since the beginning of the 2015-16 season as the Nittany Lions now lead the all-time series 10-7-4.
·        The Nittany Lions fall to 4-6-1 all-time at Munn Ice Arena.
·        Penn State was outshot for sixth time this season as the Spartans held the 30-28 advantage in shots. The Nittany Lions fall to just 1-4-1 on the year when being outshot.
·        Penn State is now just 2-8-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-9-1 when trailing entering the final period.
·        Each team went 1-for-4 with the man-advantage.

NEXT UP
Both teams return tomorrow evening to close out the regular season series with a 5 p.m. puck drop from Munn Arena.

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