Penn State Breaks Notre Dame Hex
CHN Staff Report
The frustration that is mounting is starting to look like last year’s for Michigan. Whether the Wolverines have another second-half run in them that will propel them to a Frozen Four again, remains to be seen.
Despite outshooting Minnesota, 53-28, at Yost Arena in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines were thwarted in a 4-3 loss to Minnesota, despite leading going into the third period.
After falling behind 2-0, the Wolverines took a 3-2 lead after two periods thanks to goals from Nick and Michael Pastujov and Josh Norris, and had a 40-19 shot edge. The 40 shots is the most by Michigan this season through the first 40 minutes.
But Tyler Sheehy tied it up early in the third period on a rebound, and Brent Gates scored with 1:41 remaining to give the Gophers the win.
“Tough loss. Those ones hurt,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said. “I told the team after the game, if you play with that toughness, that conviction, that energy and that passion, we’ll win a lot of games. We’ll win a lot more than we lose. And it’s been the same story the last four weeks, we just cannot get any separation. You get the lead and that next goal is critical. We had a lot of opportunities and we didn’t get it. So now it’s a one-shot game. And they come out and get a break, a rebound and now they get momentum and you’re tied.
“That’s been the story (recently). We’ve probably played well enough to win all games, and tonight more than any of them. We’re making every goaltender look like an All-American right now. And our power play has to be produce. You can’t go 0-for-6 5-on-3.”
Michigan had six power plays in the game to just one for Minnesota, but didn’t convert on any of them. One of those opportunities was in the third period with the game tied. And there were two late in the second period, when the team was trying to extend its one-goal lead.
With the game tied at three, the Wolverines’ Will Lockwood appeared to score the go-ahead goal, stuffing in a loose puck that was under Minnesota goalie Mat Robson’s pads. But the goalie was waved off.
“They said that he pushed the pad into the net. That you can’t really do,” Pearson said. “That’s a tough break. That can go either way.”
The Wolverines go into their break with a 6-7-4 record, similar to last year.
“Now, can we turn it on like we did? That’s the question that remains to be seen,” Pearson said. “We haven’t had any time off since September. It will be good to get away from school and hockey and hit the refresh button.
“(Like last year) just one line is scoring. The goaltending is up in the air a little bit. We have a good performance one night, and … it wasn’t a bad performance (by Strauss Mann), but we don’t get that critical save at a key time. Very similar. And defensively, we have to play better. The first two goals were a great example, it was just sloppy. We were ready to play, and I thought you saw that after the timeout.”
Penn State 9, Notre Dame 1
In six prior games against Notre Dame since the Irish joined the Big Ten, Penn State failed to come away with a win. The Lions tried to bury all of that Saturday, blitzing Notre Dame with nine goals in a 9-1 win.
Alex Limoges got it started with a shorthanded goal, then another goal in the first period. Alec Marsh added another two goals, and Nikita Pavlychev (10) and Evan Barratt (13) chipped in. Chase Berger scored, and added three assists to join the 100-point club. Barratt’s 29 points leads the nation, while Limoges is second with 28.
“I think it’s a hurdle that we really wanted to get over (beating Notre Dame) and I do feel that we’ve played really good games against them in the past, but we’ve always come out on the short end,” Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said. “So yes, I think this was a good hurdle to get over.”
Typically, it’s All-American Cale Morris who is steady as a rock, and Penn State is often the team seeking a consistent goaltending solution. But the tables were turned Saturday — Morris was pulled after just 15 saves and five goals allowed, while the oft-inconsistent Peyton Jones made 26 of 27 saves for the Lions.
“I wasn’t gonna let him be embarrassed, not by the way we were playing. It was already out of hand by that point,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said of pulling Morris.
Jones has gotten most of the starts this, but has been up and down. So Friday, senior Chris Funkey got the start, but was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots. Penn State allowed just two first-period shots Friday, but by early in the second period, were behind, 3-1. Freshman Oskar Autio got his first career action, and took the loss in the 5-4 defeat.
“The truth is, the first period yesterday was the best defensive performance we’ve ever had actually, ever,” Gadowsky said. “We gave up three attempts and we had an excellent defensive effort tonight for a more consistent time, but it was one of those that it had to turn like that’s the truth. Obviously, a big, big part of that we had huge saves when we needed them. It’s nice that we put them together at the same time, great offense and great defense.”
Jackson knew his team’s hold over Penn State had to end sooner or later.
“They have great off depth and they play a great offensive game,” Jackson said. “We’ve been fortunate against them by getting great goaltending and scoring timely goals. It was inevitable eventually that they were gonna beat us, and tonight was the night. I think we started Christmas break after our game last night.”
Wisconsin 3, Michigan State 0
Sean Dhooghe and K’Andre Miller, both soon heading to Team USA’s World Junior camp, scored key goals and Daniel Lebedeff picked up his first career shutout, as Wisconsin rolled past Michigan State, 3-0, to sweep the weekend set.
The Badgers had gone just 2-5-3 in the last 10 coming into the weekend, but the sweep allowed them to finish one game over .500 headed into the holiday break. And now, over the last six games, they are actually 3-0-3.
“We weren’t happy with the outcomes of the North Dakota and Ohio State weekends. Not necessarily that we lost, but we just didn’t play well,” Wisconsin coach Tony Granato said. “So we had this stretch coming up, going to Michigan and coming home to Penn State, two ranked teams, and then coming back to a scrappy team here today. We thought that if we’re going to make a push this season and get anything out of it, we’ve got to get going right now. Our leadership with [Peter] Tischke and Seamus [Malone] did some good things in the past few weeks to make sure the team was focused on what we thought we could do.
“That’s been the most fun thing to see, is how each of the lines has found ways to contribute in lots of different ways. [Dominick] Mersch’s line tonight, that’s a good of a line that other teams are going to play against. They did a good job of neutralizing them to the best that probably any line has all year. And that’s three freshmen. You look at the freshmen D and they’ve had big nights both nights. K’Andre [Miller] scored both nights, Ty [Emberson] was great, and our whole D core was really outstanding through this six-game stretch.”
Wisconsin hasn’t always been great clamping fdown when needed, so Granato was pleased to see his team play a thorough 60 minutes.
“When you come out of the power play 1-0 you feel like you’re in control of the game, even though you’re only up by one,” Granato said. “Their goalie played really well. I thought we could’ve made it a little harder on him at times. He got to the top of the crease and saw most of the shots. It was a big win for us, and Daniel Lebedeff in the third period was outstanding. He didn’t have much work in the first two, but in the third one they had their push and we got into a little bit of penalty trouble.”
Michigan Tech 3, Northern Michigan 1
Michigan Tech earned a split with rival Northern Michigan after a 3-1 win in a sold out John MacInnes Arena. Tech improved to 9-6-1 overall and 8-1-1-1 in the WCHA.
Goaltender Robbie Beydoun made 28 saves in his first start of the season, while Trenton Bliss had a goal and an assist, and Jake Lucchini added a pair of assists.
“I’m obviously thrilled with the way we played,” Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. “It’s nice to bounce back after last night. It was a great crowd and atmosphere, and we felt that energy all night.
“I’m proud of Robbie in net and our defensive corps for only allowing one goal. Really, I’m proud of every aspect of our game.”
Tech jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. The Huskies capitalized on their first power play when Seamus Donohue found the back of the net 8:17 into the game for his first of the season.
On the other side, Beydoun stood tall for the Huskies, making 12 of his 28 saves in the third period. Five of the saves came in the final 5:00 of the game after the Wildcats pulled Atte Tolvanen for the extra attacker. Beydoun earned his second win of the season.
“I just knew that I had to shut down plays and control what I could late in the game,” Beydoun said. “I needed to limit second chances and cover the puck.
“Getting a split after a tough game on the road last night, especially with the rivalry, feels pretty good. It’s nice coming back home and getting the W.”
After getting shutout Friday and falling behind 2-0 Saturday, it looked like it was going to another one of those nights for Alabama-Huntsville, which entered the game with just one win. But suddenly the Chargers rallied and wound up with a 4-2 win, the four goals being the most UAH has put up this season. Jake Theut, a grad transfer from Northeastern, had never won a college game before, going 0-1-1 in brief appearances with the Huskies and 0-5 so far this season for the Chargers. He made 21 saves to get the victory. After, he said on Twitter, “Better late than never. It took 4 1/2 years to get but I couldn’t be anymore thankful for all the steps leading up to this point. My support system is unbelievable. Mom and dad this couldn’t happen without you. Taylor, all your support this last year, will never go unnoticed.” …
Marc Michaelis scored two goals and added one assist to lead Minnesota State to a 6-0 win over Alaska-Anchorage. The Mavericks outshot UAA, 58-12.