MSU Hockey No Match For Penn State In 6-1 Loss

If there’s any indication of how the night went for the Michigan State hockey team it would be the following, the Spartans were did not register a shot on net until almost 10 minutes into the game. To make matters worse, Penn State came into Munn Arena and dominated in every facet of the game on their way to a 6-1 victory Friday night.

“I don’t think we came out with as much effort again, like we did last Saturday,” said junior forward Joe Cox. “All of their shots went in tonight. We just weren’t hard enough to play against tonight defensively and that’s really what it comes down to. Effort wasn’t there.”

The Spartans came out extremely flat-footed and as a result Penn State completely shut down any hopes the Spartans had of establishing pressure in the offensive zone.

“We anticipated it, we just didn’t handle it very well,” coach Tom Anastos said of Penn State’s dynamic offense. “We didn’t handle the one-on-one intensity, we didn’t move the puck well enough, we created our own issues, and we turned the puck over all night long. You can’t play that way.”

Along with shutting down the Spartans defensively, the Nittany Lions added two goals to give themselves a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. The first goal came from Vince Pedrie who netted his seventh goal of the season on the power play.

The second goal came from redshirt senior Tommy Olczyk who tucked a rebound past Jake Hildebrand with 3:02 to play in the first period. The lone assist on the Olczyk goal came from Alec Marsh.

The Spartans, who managed only eight shots in the first period, started to come to life in the expiring minutes of the first period. They were finally able to pepper PSU goaltender Matthew Skoff with shots, but nothing got by the senior netminder.

The second period did not get any better for Anastos’ team. Eric Schied and Andrew Sturtz scored their ninth and 14th goals, respectively, to put the game essentially out of reach for MSU.

The Penn State offense continued to shine in the period adding another 12 shots to their total of 20 that came in the first period. The defense continued to hover over the Spartans, forcing them to commit many turnovers and ill-advised passes.

Despite the tough night in all phases in the game, there were a few bright moments for MSU.

One of those moments for the Spartans came on, of all things, the penalty kill . After a turnover by an MSU defender at the blue line, two Penn State forwards found themselves all alone with only Hildebrand to beat. But Hildebrand, like he has all season long, was the best on the ice for the Spartans and made a diving save to keep his team in the game.

With just under 17 minutes to play in the second period, PSU’s Matt Mendelson took a penalty for cross-checking. On the following power play, the Spartans could not put the puck in the net. But just as that power play ended, freshman Cody Milan found open ice to the left of the Penn State net and took a pass from Connor Wood . Milan sent the one-timer past Skoff for his second goal of the season, cutting the lead to 2-1 at the time.

“There were some shift and stretches, but not nearly enough,” senior captain Michael Ferrantino said when asked if there were parts of the game where the Spartans played well. “We had a few guys that were going but there was not nearly enough to sustain anything.”

But that would do it for the Spartans in terms of scoring for the period as they would take a 4-1 deficit into the locker room after 40 minutes of play.

The highly intense Penn State offense continued to pour on the shots on the Spartans in the third period, who fell victim to the seventh-best offense in the nation.

David Goodwin, who leads the Nittany Lions in points with 25, took his turn and scored his eighth of the season, extending the Penn State lead to 5-1.

Michigan State had no answer for the Nittany Lion offense all night. The talent gap was simply too wide and the Spartans came out on their heels from the moment the puck first hit the ice.

The two teams will meet again Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.