The Penn State Nittany Lions (18-12-4, 10-7-1-0 Big Ten) sent their seven graduating seniors off in style, beating the Michigan Wolverines (19-13-0, 11-7-0-0 Big Ten) 4-3 in a weekend sweep of the Big Ten’s top team on Saturday afternoon in front of 6,026 fans.
Following the season’s status quo, Penn State scored first on David Goodwin’s goal just 3:38 into the action. Goodwin had a banner night, collecting four points after assisting on each of the rest of the Nittany Lions’ goals. Goodwin’s goal came on a rebound from Patrick Koudys, and linemate Casey Bailey picked up the secondary assist.
Michigan’s JT Compher evened the score for the Wolverines with 5:50 remaining in the first period, assisted by Travis Lynch and Nolan De Jong. Compher would go on to notch his second hat trick of the season, scoring all three of Michigan’s goals.
Scott Conway gave the Lions back the lead with a goal after a long pass from Goodwin 15:49 into the first period.
Compher rounded out the opening period with a shorthanded goal. Andrew Copp picked up the assist in the 2-on-1 situation with 1:18 remaining to play.
Michigan outshot Penn State 12-8 in the second period, but could not connect the shots on goal as the Nittany Lions jumped out to a two-goal lead. Erik Autio fired a one-timer from Goodwin past Wolverine netminder Steve Rancine. Tommy Olczyk collected a goal off of a rebound from Bailey’s shot to put Penn State in front of Michigan 4-2 to end the second period.
Compher picked up his third and final goal of the game late in the third period with the extra attacker on the ice for the Wolverines with 1:34 remaining to play.
Penn State goaltender PJ Musico made three acrobatic saves before being pushed into the net with the puck, resulting in the referees’ dismissal of the Michigan goal just six seconds before the game ended.
With this victory, the Nittany Lions have guaranteed their first winning season in the program’s Division I history.
Head coach Guy Gadowsky called the win “something that we won’t forget,” and noted the confidence boost that came from winning such an important series as the team prepares for the Big Ten Tournament.
“I mean, anytime that you’re able to sweep Michigan is huge. It feels great. I think it is something to look back on down the road and gain a lot of confidence from this. The fact that it happened on senior night, and at a time that we’re in the conversation, it becomes an important time for both teams. It feels really good. I feel really good about what the guys were able to accomplish in very meaningful games.
Penn State honored Musico, Koudys, Peter Sweetland, Nate Jensen, Max Gardiner (all of whom skated in the game), Jacob Friedman, and Taylor Holstrom (out with injuries) before the game began.
Penn State’s regular season wraps up at Minnesota on Friday and Saturday. Both games will begin at 8:00 p.m. EST.
Photo Credit: GoPSUSports.com