STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — One player stood between Brent Darnell and a shootout victory on the road – Penn State netminder Matt Skoff, who had saved the last three shots sent his way.
Darnell approached Skoff, sent a shot stickside that ricocheted off the post into the back of the net to give the Spartans the 3-2 victory after a seven-round shootout.
David Glen had a chance to keep the Nittany Lions alive, but Jake Hildebrand easily squandered any Penn State comeback.
Michigan State and Penn State battled, ending regulation in a 2-2 tie.
The Spartans have some familiarity with shootouts as they fell twice to No. 23 Ohio State in overtime shootouts last weekend.
This was only the Lions’ second attempt in a shootout this season – its first in the Big Ten.
“Being in a shootout, you never know what happens,” said MSU coach Tom Anastos. “We have been in probably too many of them. That was the longest I think one has gone without a goal, but it was nice to see one go in and finish with a win on that end.”
With the victory, Michigan State gains two points in the Big Ten standings and even with the defeat, Penn State walks away with one point in the conference.
After a quiet first period for both squads, Michigan State opened the scoring as Lee Reimer found the back of the net with the assist from captain Greg Wolfe just four minutes into the second period to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead.
The Penn State offense finally caught a break after outshooting the Spartans in the first period as Ricky DeRosa sent a toe drag shot past Hildebrand to tie the game 1-1 at just under nine minutes into the second period.
Capitalizing on the power play, the Lions tallied another goal just one minute after DeRosa’s as Dylan Richard found the puck deflected off the foot of a Michigan State defender for the 2-1 go-ahead goal at 9:31 in the second.
“They really come up huge, getting that cluster of goals in a row,” Richard said. “Really shifts the momentum in our favor and start to take over the game.”
Michigan State could not finish on a 5-on-3 advantage as Penn State killed off the power play, holding the Spartans to just one shot.
“They won the special teams tonight,” Anastos said. “They got the power play goal and the 5-on-3 and we really didn’t create any dangerous chances at all.”
Riding a one-goal lead with four minutes left in the third period, Penn State could not close the door on the Spartans as Michael Ferrantino had scored on a 2-on-1 advantage at the goal knotting the game at 2-2.
Penn State had a chance to win it on a power play as time expired in regulation, but the Lions final shot attempt was saved by Hildebrand.
“You have to give Michigan State a lot of credit for how they came out in the third,” PSU coach Guy Gadowsky said. “They were down by one, they came out and really did what they had to do to win the game. They by far played their best period.”