Penn State hockey: Looking back (and ahead)

UNIVERSITY PARK -- It was a bit of a bumpy start for the Nittany Lions as the Wolverines scored the first two goals of the game within the first six minutes of play.
 
After being in the penalty box with two minutes for holding, Andrew Sturtz bolted back onto the ice and scored his fourth goal of the season 12 seconds after being released, putting the Nittany Lions on the board, 2-1. Sturtz is now tied with former teammate David Goodwin for second on the Penn State all-time goals list with 44 total career goals. That's just one goal behind Casey Bailey’s program record of 45. Sturtz has also scored a goal in four of his last five games played, putting him fifth in career points with 71.
 
As both teams entered the second period, Denis Smirnov tied up the game 2-2 with his fifth goal of the season at 10:11. Michigan was quick to regain the lead at 16:01 as Dexter Dancs scored his second of the game. 
 
Alex Limoges scored his first of the season 04:32 into the third period, putting the Nittany Lions in the lead, 3-2. The Wolverines tied it up a little over a minute later when Cooper Marody pocketed a goal at 5:59. Chase Berger sent the two teams into overtime with a goal at 18:28
 
Blake Gober scored the winning goal 53 seconds into the sudden death overtime.
 
Wolverines fight back, split series with Nittany Lions
 
You could almost feel the football loss within the Pegula Ice Arena on Saturday night but there was still a hockey game to be played. Once again the Wolverines struck first, as Tony Calderone scored their first goal of the game at 4:10 into the first period. 
 
In the second period, Calderone scored again on the power play at 14:48, followed by a goal from Brendan Warren 9 seconds after. With the Wolverines up 3-0, the Nittany Lions struck back, scoring their first of the game near the end of the second period. Nate Sucese scored his third of the season at 18:52
 
After Michigan scored two more times, Peyton Jones was pulled and replaced by Chris Funkey in the third period. Although Michigan led most of the game, Nikita Pavelchev was able to get his team on the board one more time, 9:27 into the game, but that would be the last time the Nittany Lions would score. Funkey was pulled from the net twice, leaving the net empty for a little over five minutes. 
 
Michigan took the win 5-2, splitting the series. Although it was a tough loss, coach Gadowsky said he was not disappointed with how the team played, stating, "you have to give Michigan a lot of credit."
 
Andrew Strutz and Brandon Biro were scratched from the lineup Saturday night, when asked coach Gadowsky responded that it was "not a coaches decision." 
 
Takeaways
 
Both teams were rather chippy and a lot of penalty minutes were accumulated throughout the series. The Nittany Lions averaged 49 shots on goal and are ranked fifth in the nation and first in the Big Ten averaging 37.75 shots on goal per game so far this season. 
 
Up next ...
 
No. 17 Penn State will take on Mercyhurst this Friday and Saturday, both at 7 p.m. This is the first time the two teams will meet at Pegula and the second and third game played against each other in program history. Last season, the Nittany Lions beat the Lakers 7-0, giving way to their 13-game winning streak. The Lakers are 2-2-2 so far this season and the Nittany Lions are 4-4-0, 2-2 B1G. 
 
For tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.com.
 
The Nittany Lions will then close their 6-game home streak with a road trip to South Bend, Indiana to battle the No. 10 Fighting Irish. You can catch Saturday's game on NBCsports at 7:05 p.m.
 
(Photo by Kat Procyk).
 
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