A sold out crowd plus some saw the Nittany Lions pick up their first Big Ten win in their short Division I history, as the team shut out the Michigan Wolverines 4-0 Saturday night. Sophomore Matt Skoff lead the team with 32 saves in the team’s first shutout of the season and four different Penn Staters added goals in the physical contest.
Zach Saar, David Glen, Casey Bailey, and Ricky DeRosa contributed to the offense for the Nittany Lions, with Bailey picking up his second goal in two games and Glen adding his first since his return Friday from donating bone marrow last month.
“There was a sense of urgency before the game for sure, getting spanked 7-3 last night.” Goalie Matt Skoff said. “Everyone had a little chip on their shoulder from last night that this isn’t going to happen again.”
From the opening puck drop, Penn State seemed to have the upper hand in physicality and just 5:31 in, they had the upper hand on the scoreboard. Zach Saar gave the Nittany Lions the 1-0 lead on a soft goal from Michigan’s Zach Nagelvoort. The freshman picked up Taylor Holstrom’s rebound at the side of the net and quickly shot the puck through Nagelvoort’s five-hole for the score, his fourth of the season.
The Wolverines had their chances, including a breakaway that was fired high and wide by a Michigan player, but Skoff was able to slide through the goal crease and stop shots with his pads or make quick glove saves to weather the Michigan storm.
The dam broke when David Glen scored off a faceoff in the Michigan zone. Kenny Brooks took the faceoff to the right of Nagelvoort but Glen skated forward and grabbed the puck as Brooks was grappling with the opposing Wolverine. Glen quickly made a bad angle shot from the side of the net between the post and the Michigan goalie that bounced off the pipe, off Nagelvoort, and into the back of the net for the 2-0 Nittany Lion lead with 11:24 gone in the period.
Bailey extended the Penn State lead with his third goal of the season to put the Nittany Lions up 3-0 just mere minutes after Glen’s tally. Eric Scheid initially whiffed on a shot in close but Glen was following up the rush just beind the freshman and went five-hole through Nagelvoort. Nagelvoort was pulled immediately after letting in the third goal for sophomore Steve Racine.
Skoff and the defense continued to shine in the second period, choking off any second Michigan chances.
Both Nate Jensen and Luke Juha went down after hard hits in the middle frame; Jensen took a shot up high in the Penn State defensive zone and stayed down for a few minutes before walking off on his own power and Juha fell awkwardly into the boards after losing an edge on a hard Michigan hit.
With just under 8 minutes to play in the period, Michigan’s Cristoval Nieves rang a shot off the crossbar on a hard shot from the left circle that beat Skoff but stayed out of the net.
The Nittany Lions had back-to-back power plays to end the second frame but could not get any good chances toward the net.
Michigan almost had its first goal of the game with 4:33 gone in the third period but before the puck could cross the line, the net was knocked off its moorings and was called no goal on the ice and after a review, the call stood.
Penn State kept pushing Michigan in their zone throughout the third period, not content with their three goal lead. The Nittany Lions sealed the deal on a Ricky DeRosa tip-in goal from in front of the net off of Thompson’s shot from the point that fooled Racine, who did not react to the shot at all, for the 4-0 shutout win.
“It feels fantastic, not just the win itself but because of the work that we’ve had to put in to get here.” Coach Gadowsky said after the game. “The whole team just did a heck of a job, very proud.”
“I felt tonight, especially, that guys were doing what they did for each other.”
The weekend split puts Penn State’s record at 5-18-1 (1-9-0-0 Big Ten) and the team will stay at home to face Michigan State next weekend Friday and Saturday. The two teams played last month, both losses for the Nittany Lions, 3-0 and 3-2. Friday’s game starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted on the BTN and Saturday’s game starts at 3:30 p.m. on ESPNEWS.