It took seven rounds to decide the winner of Penn State’s first Big Ten shootout in its game against the Michigan State Spartans on Friday night. In front of 6,062 fans in Pegula Ice Arena, the Nittany Lions lost the Big Ten shootout 1-0 but officially walked away from the game with a 2-2 tie in the regular standings.
Two goals in 1:05 of the second period, one from Ricky DeRosa and the other from Dylan Richard, propelled Penn State to a 2-1 lead going into the third period but the Nittany Lions lost it late on the shoulders of Spartan Michael Ferrantino.
“I felt that we would come out and play a great third and that’s what I’m probably disappointed with,” Coach Guy Gadowsky said. “They outshot us 12-5. I was surprised that we didn’t come out a lot hungrier.”
“It’s a great experience to go through. It’s a learning experience; going into the third with a one goal lead is the first time we’ve had that opportunity, certainly in the Big Ten. I’m optimistic we will learn from that,” said Gadowsky.
Matt Skoff took the net for Penn State after his 4-0 shutout win over Michigan last weekend and saved 32 of 34 Michigan State shots while Kenny Brooks switched from forward to defense after injuries to Luke Juha and Curtis Loik in their previous game against the Wolverines sidelined them.
Jake Hildebrand backstoppd in net for the Spartans in the 2-2 tie, saving 25 of Penn State’s 27 shots.
Neither goalie was tested much in the first, but both the Penn State and Michigan State netminders were sharp when they needed to be. Skoff made a couple of close saves with Spartan players in front on the visiting team’s two power plays in the first period and Hildebrand was sharp as well, jumping on Penn State rebounds quickly.
Eric Scheid almost had his twelfth of the year but hit the left side of the crossbar with 6:17 gone in the period as he was streaking down the near side boards and fired a shot from the hashmarks.
The Spartans took the 1-0 lead four minutes into the second period on a breakaway goal by Lee Reimer. Michigan State’s Dean Chelios sat in the penalty box for two minutes on a holding call at 18:02. Just seconds after the penalty expired, Michigan State gained possession of the puck at their blue line on a turnover and captain Greg Wolfe battled to flip the puck to Chelios, who beat Skoff stick side for his sixth goal of the season.
Penn State pressured in response and tied the game 1-1 on one of the team’s prettiest goals of the season. Scheid played a backhanded pass in close to DeRosa in the slot and the freshman toe-dragged around a helpless Michigan State defender and roofed the shot up and over Hildebrand with 8:26 gone in the middle frame.
The Nittany Lions captured the momentum and the 2-1 lead on Richard’s power play goal 1:05 later while Rhett Holland was sitting in the box for Michigan State on a tripping penalty. Casey Bailey’s point shot from the blue line deflected off Taylor Holstrom’s stick in front of Hildebrand and right to Richard at the right side of the net for the easy empty net tap-in tally eight seconds into the power play.
Penn State took 21 seconds of power play time into the third period, but Koudys committed his third penalty of the night with four seconds remaining on the Nittany Lion man advantage and sent the teams to 4-on-4 then a 5-on-4 power play for Michigan State but was killed with relative ease.
The toughest test for the Nittany Lions came on a 5-on-3 penalty kill for 1:50 after DeRosa was called for goaltender interference then ten seconds later David Glen committed a holding call to put Penn State down two men with 12:13 to go in the third. Again, the penalty killers came up big for the Nittany Lions as Michigan State was too conservative on the power play with no shooting lanes.
However, Michigan State finally connected again and tied the game 2-2 on a rebound goal with 3:56 left in the game. On a 2-on-1, Spartan Matt Berry shot the puck into Skoff’s pads and his rebound bounced out in front to teammate Michael Ferrantino who put the puck through Skoff’s five-hole as he was sliding across the crease.
The teams went into overtime after 60 minutes could not decide a winner, despite Penn State’s chances near the end of the period and 1:14 of power play time carrying over into the extra frame. Michigan State garnered pressure in the overtime period, but neither team could net leading goals and the game went into the shootout, Penn State’s first Big Ten shootout of the season. Both teams gained one point in the Big Ten standings for completing overtime.
Both Skoff and Hildebrand stopped their shots through the first six rounds of the shootout. Spartan Brent Darnell broke the six round tie off a shot that hit the post and in behind Skoff’s right side. Glen had the chance to keep the shootout going for the Nittany Lions but was stopped by Hildebrand and Michigan State skated away with the extra shootout point.
Penn State held Michigan State 0-6 on power play opportunities through the game, while the Nittany Lions connected on one of their five chances through the three periods and overtime.
The two teams will be back at it Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in Pegula. The game will be broadcasted on ESPNEWS.