The Penn State Nittany Lions (6-20-2, 2-11-1-0 Big Ten) split their weekend series against No. 10 Michigan (15-10-3, 7-6-1-1 Big Ten) after a 5-2 loss to the Wolverines in Ann Arbor on Saturday night. Curtis Loik and Taylor Holstrom tallied the goals for the Nittany Lions after the team went down 4-0 going into the middle stages of the third period, but the comeback started too late and the Wolverines took the weekend split after losing the previous night in overtime.
Matt Skoff took the start in net for Penn State for the second night in a row but was pulled in favor of PJ Musico after four goals were let in by the sophomore netminder, though Skoff kept the Nittany Lions in the game with 29 saves through his 48 minutes on the ice. Musico saved five shots during his time on the ice in relief of Skoff in the third period.
Wolverine Tyler Motte netted his second goal in as many games to kick off the scoring at 5:40 of the first period on a tally all alone in front of Skoff off a pass from Zach Hyman. Teammate Alex Kile gave Michigan a 2-0 lead 6:58 into the second period off a scramble in front and Phil Di Giuseppe netted a one-timed power play goal on a Casey Bailey holding penalty to go up 3-0 at 13:07 of the middle frame. The 4-0 lead came off Kile’s second goal of the night after Skoff denied the first two Wolverine chances 8:23 into the third period.
Loik got the Nittany Lions on the board at 12:24 of the third period on a nifty move that beat Michigan goaltender Steve Racine after captain Tommy Olczyk set a backhanded pass to Loik to set up the chance. Holstrom made it 4-2 six minutes later as he netted his fifth of the season after a lucky bounce on his shot that hit Racine’s stick and in. However with Musico pulled, Michigan capped off the win with Di Giuseppe’s empty netter with 55 seconds to play.
The Nittany Lions only tallied 20 shots on net in the 5-2 loss against the Wolverines, compared to Michigan’s 39 shots on goal against Skoff and Musico.
Penn State will play No. 2 Minnesota in their final road series of the regular season next weekend starting on Friday, February 28. Friday’s matchup will air on the BTN at 9:00 p.m. while Saturday’s 7:00 p.m. start will go on NBCSN.