Michigan Spolis Penn State’s Senior Day
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa — In a must-win game for Penn State to make the Big Ten Tournament the Nittany Lions came up short in overtime against the Michigan Wolverines at Panzer Stadium.
On Saturday, the Nittany Lions (8-6) were celebrating senior day and we’re hoping to control their own destiny in head to the postseason. The Michigan Wolverines’ (8-6) were looking to play spoiler and end a 4-game losing streak.
The Wolverines who were winless in Big Ten play came out looking to keep the ball away from a Nittany Lions. As they dominated possession and were able to get out to a 2-0 lead in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter Michigan continued to dominate possession and pushed their lead to 3 at the 11:08 mark. The Nittany Lions would gain some momentum after a goal by senior captain Ryan Keenan at 8:39 and a transition goal by junior defenseman Chris Sabia with 5:50 remaining in the first half.
This momentum would be short-lived as Michigan dominated at the face-off winning 5 of the first 7 faceoffs. Because the Wolverines were able to play on the offensive side of the ball for much of the first half they increased their lead to 5-2 with 2:11 remaining in the half.
“I don’t think we got off to a great start early and the flow of our offense really, really suffered, ” coach Jeff Tambroni said.
Michigan seemed to be heading into the half with a 3-goal lead until Ryan Keenan scored his second goal of the afternoon with 1:26 remains in the half. The Nittany Lions also drew a penalty with ten seconds remaining and were able to start the second half with possession.
In the second half, Penn State continued the momentum their captain gave them, scoring four goals (including Keenan’s third of the afternoon) and allowed zero to give them a 7-5 lead to end the third quarter.
To start the fourth quarter the two teams traded goals and with Keenan scoring his fourth with 11:15 remaining in regulation. The Wolverines seemed determined to not end their season on a five-game skid and were able to tie the game off of a goal by junior midfielder Decker Curran.
The game would stay tied at 8 until sophomore attackman Mac O’Keefe scored to put the Nittany Lions up 9-8 with 40.5 seconds remaining in regulation.
After a timeout after the face-off the Curran again scored to tie the game at 9 with 22 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Nittany Lions failed to convert their last opportunity to secure a victory with 11.7 seconds remaining after winning the face-off and taking a timeout to set their offense.
In overtime, The Nittany Lions lost the always crucial opening face-off. The Wolverines took advantage immediately, and senior Chase Young was able to find Curran who found the net for his fourth goal of the afternoon and lifted his team to victory.
The Nittany Lions now hope that Rutgers defeats Ohio State at 4 p.m. A Scarlet Knights victory would mean that Penn State will play the winner of Maryland-Johns Hopkins in the Big Ten semifinals on Thursday in Ann Arbor.
Jerome Taylor is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.