Penn State Tops Michigan State in Game One
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The crowd was rocking at Pegula Ice Arena, as the No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions got an exciting win over Michigan State, 4-2, on Friday in the first home game of the new year.
“That was a great atmosphere out there, especially the Roar Zone was definitely happenin’ tonight. It was nice to see a lot of fellow students come out and support us,” Penn State sophomore defenseman Evan Bell said.
Penn State opened up the scoring in the first period when Kevin Kerr netted his second goal of the season as he went five-hole on the goalie.
Then, in the second period, both teams began to light up the scoreboard. Penn State was able to extend the lead to 3-0 thanks to a wraparound goal by Nikita Pavylchev and a one-timer by Nate Sucese on the power play.
Everything was looking great for the Nittany Lions about halfway through the second period until a costly turnover in the defensive end led to the first goal of the game for Michigan State. Shortly thereafter, Penn State’s Nikita Pavylchev was whistled for tripping, and Michigan State wasted no time scoring just 10 seconds into the power play to put themselves right back in the game as the second period came to an end.
“It wasn’t panic by any means, so it wasn’t deflating, but I just felt like the guys sort of knew that we can do better," Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "I don’t think they ever felt deflated."
Both teams played a very physical style throughout the whole game. There were 10 total penalties between the two teams split evenly at five apiece. At times, things got a little chippy between the two teams, but both sides were able to keep their composure.
“I give Michigan State credit. I thought they came out harder than we did. I think they really wanted to come in and try to establish their game, establish their forecheck and make sure they finish checks,” Gadowsky said. “I give [Michigan State] credit, I thought they played well. They’re a physical team.”
Midway through the third period, Penn State’s Liam Folkes gave the Nittany Lions a two-goal lead on a shot that banked off the boards, hit the goalie in the back and went in. Their defense stepped up and make some big time stops with a few nice saves by goalie Peyton Jones.
Penn State finished with a 39-27 shot advantage, and goalie Peyton Jones finished strong after giving up an easy goal to finish with 25 saves and a 92.6 save percentage.
“[Jones] made a huge save on one that should’ve gone in, so let’s call that one a draw. I thought he came back really focused, I think he probably wanted that one back. It was a little bit weird, I think he wasn’t sure if it went through Kevin’s [Kerr] skate, hit Kevin’s skate, but I do really like the response. You’re going to need excellent goaltending at this time of the year, and I think we got it tonight,” Gadowsky said.
Penn State and Michigan State will both go at it again on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at Pegula Ice Arena in the final game of this two-game series.
Michael Daher is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.