No. 15 Penn State men’s hockey (14-10-2, 6-9-1 Big Ten) and Michigan (9-10-6, 5-5-2 Big Ten) finished their weekend series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. The game ended in a 5-2 victory for the Nittany Lions, who snapped a four-game losing streak.
Evan Barratt, Liam Folkes, Alex Limoges, and Alec Marsh scored for Guy Gadowsky’s team, which is now 7-0-1 in its last eight appearances at NHL rinks dating back to the 2016-17 Big Ten tournament in Detroit.
Peyton Jones made 35 saves en route to his 10th win of the 2018-19 season.
How It Happened
Evan Barratt opened the scoring 5:52 into the first period of tonight’s game to kickstart a three-goal opening frame for the Nittany Lions.
Barratt collected a turnover and walked through Michigan’s defense before firing a wrist shot past Hayden Lavigne to give Penn State a 1-0 advantage. Penn State’s top center then set up Liam Folkes’ 12th goal of the season 5:02 later to double the Nittany Lion lead.
Bridgewater, NJ native Alec Marsh capped off a nearly-perfect first 20 minutes of the game with a breakaway goal of his own to extend Penn State’s lead to three entering the first intermission.
Peyton Jones stood on his head throughout the first 20 minutes, tying a program record with 22 saves in the period. He got some help from the iron, too, as Michigan was the victim of some terrible puck luck by hitting four posts.
Penn State picked up right where it left off in the second period. Alex Limoges buried his 12th goal of the year on a rebound. Barratt picked up his second assist of the game on the play as the team took a 4-0 just 1:35 into the second frame.
Michigan got on the board 76 seconds later. Sam Sternschein and Michigan’s Griffin Luce were in the sin-bin for coincidental minor penalties, and Luke Morgan capitalized by stuffing a rebound past Peyton Jones to make the score 4-1.
Limoges squashed any momentum by burying a shorthanded breakaway goal to extend Penn State’s lead to 5-1 with 10:52 to play in the second.
The Wolverines got off to a good start to the third period when Will Lockwood buried his seventh goal of the season past Jones. The goal trimmed Penn State’s lead to 5-2 with 16:33 to play in the game, but that would be the closest Michigan came to mounting a comeback.
- Penn State’s big line of Alex Limoges, Evan Barratt, and Liam Folkes was on a minor cold streak entering Saturday’s game. It’s safe to say that’s over after the line combined to score four goals and two assists and dominated Saturday’s game at Madison Square Garden
- Peyton Jones, take a bow. The junior netminder had the first period of his life on one of the biggest stages in hockey, tying a program record with 22 saves on 22 shots in the first 20 minutes.
- Jones was excellent throughout the game, but he definitely got plenty of help from the iron. Four Michigan shots hit the crossbar or post in the first period of the game, and three of those came off the stick of Nick Pastujov, the Wolverines’ top center.
- The Roar Zone came out in droves to support head coach Guy Gadowsky and the Nittany Lions on Saturday. Madison Square Garden might be a four-hour drive away from Happy Valley, but the home of the New York Rangers truly felt like Pegula Ice Arena.
Penn State will be idle next weekend, but it’ll be back on the ice for a two-game set against Minnesota in two weeks. The puck will drop at 6 p.m. on February 8 and 9 at Pegula Ice Arena.