Penn State remains winless in the Big Ten Conference with a 3-2 loss to Michigan State Saturday night in East Lansing. Taylor Holstrom and Eric Scheid both netted goals past Spartan starting goaltender Jake Hildebrand while Penn State’s own backstopper Eamon McAdam made 29 saves in the team’s fifth straight loss.
Michigan State opened the scoring early on Penn State, jumping ahead to a 1-0 lead on Spartan Michael Ferrantino’s fourth goal this season 1:33 into the first period. In the Penn State zone, Ferrantino received a pass from teammate Matt Berry from the backboards and backhanded a shot through McAdam’s five-hole for the lead. Four minutes later, the Nittany Lions committed their first penalty in two games with Kenny Brooks going to the box for a two-minute minor tripping call. Freshman McAdam stood tall in net and Penn State killed the penalty with relative ease.
Brooks almost made up for the penalty call about halfway through the first frame as he had a chance against Hildebrand but fired the puck high and hit the Spartan goaltender on the shoulder that went up and over the net. The Nittany Lions had a few chances on the power play but were not able to get the puck in deep enough to sustain significant pressure. With 28 seconds left in the period, Penn State finally got a puck past Hildebrand to tie the game 1-1. Luke Juha shot the puck on net from the left circle and Taylor Holstrom tipped the puck past a Jonathan Milley screen and into the net to end the first period on a high note.
With 7:06 gone in the second period, the Spartans took back the lead 2-1 after Tanner Sorenson was left all alone on the doorstep and tucked the puck through McAdam’s five-hole for the leading score. The Spartans had an excellent chance on a David Thompson interference penalty as they had McAdam sprawled down on the ice and out of the play but missed the wide open net to keep the game at a one goal deficit for Penn State. The Nittany Lions had their best offensive sequence of the game on a power play with less than five minutes in the period but could not convert though Michigan State put Penn State back on the man-advantage with 23 seconds left in the period.
Eric Scheid tied the game 2-2 on the carryover power play for the Nittany Lions to start the third period. With 19 seconds left in the extra-man advantage, Scheid wristed a shot from below the right circle above the shoulders of an out-of-position Hildebrand. On the other side of the ice, McAdam made a few athletic saves, including one off the backboards that he managed to fight off while falling into the net. Michigan State got the go-ahead goal two minutes later, with Lee Reimer netting his second goal in two games on a tipped deflection past McAdam on Spartan RJ Boyd’s shot from the far left circle to make it 3-2 with 16:19 to play.
Penn State generated more chances late in the third by getting the cycle game going, almost scoring on some extended offensive zone time by the David Goodwin-Eric Scheid-Jonathan Milley line. However, Penn State’s chances were stopped when Mark Yanis boarded a Michigan State player head first and received a hitting from behind five-minute major with a game misconduct penalty to end his night with 5:23 left to play. The Nittany Lions tried to battle back from being a man down, pulling McAdam with just over a minute in the third frame, but could not pocket one more goal for a tying score.
The Nittany Lions finally made it to the penalty box in Saturday night’s game, after avoiding the penalty kill through three periods on Friday for the first time in Division I history. Both Penn State and Michigan State were awarded four power plays through the 60 minutes. Shots were also practically even in the game as well, with Michigan State just outshooting the Nittany Lions by one, 32-31.
The two losses over the weekend drop Penn State’s record to 4-14-1 overall and 0-6-0-0 against the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions return home next Saturday night the 24th to host Boston College at 7 p.m. in Pegula. Last month the Eagles dropped eight goals on Penn State in the Three Rivers Classic final, as they cruised to an 8-2 win.