For two minutes, the momentum was with the Penn State ice hockey team.
For two minutes, the Nittany Lions had yet another opportunity to earn their first Big Ten win and upset the No 10 team in the country.
Then as quickly as they jumped back into the game, they were down again.
Michigan answered Penn State’s two quick goals with two fast scores of its own, with Andrew Copp and Zach Hyman each scoring twice as the Wolverines tore away from the Nittany Lions 7-3 Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
“We hit a turning point and it was hard to get back into it from there,” Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said. “That to me, that’s the big game. If you take away that (third Michigan) goal, I’d be willing to bet the farm that was not going to be a 7-3 game.”
JT Compher, Alex Guptill and Michael Downing also found the net for Michigan to give coach Red Berenson win No. 784 for his career, moving him alone into fourth place on the Division I all-time wins list.
“It just means I’m old,” said Barenson, who broke a tie with Rick Comley (Michigan State, among other schools) and has been guiding the program since 1984.
Casey Bailey, Eric Scheid and Zach Saar scored for the Nittany Lions.
The teams complete the two-game series at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The outcome spoiled the return for sophomore forward David Glen, who missed the last three games recovering from a procedure for a peripheral blood stem cell harvest for a complete stranger who is battling leukemia.
“It felt great,” said Glen, who admitted to being a little winded but did better than he thought. “I was excited to get back in the lineup, a little rust to knock off early in the game, but as the game went on I thought I got better.”
Glen was on the first line and was the final player introduced before the game — breaking with the tradition of finishing introductions with the starting goalie. He heard a loud roar from the crowd when his name was called, while every Wolverine tapped their sticks on the ice to salute him.
“That was a really special moment for me,” Glen said. “I had no idea. I guess I’m not one to try and get in the spotlight too much. It was a special moment for sure.”
With the Wolverines up 2-0, the game took several turns over the first seven minutes of the second period, first with a pair of Nittany Lion rebound goals.
The first came from Bailey on the fourth shot in a matter of seconds on freshman goalie Zach Nagelvoort, who had 33 saves.
Scheid then tied it with his put-back after Patrick Koudys fired the puck from the circle.
“Going into the period down two, you want to come out with momentum,” Bailey said. “To get two quick ones like that really gives a line a lot of momentum and I think gave our team a lot of momentum.”
The Lions thought they had the go-ahead goal 1:16 after tying it, with Connor Varley’s shot from the side hitting the post and Nagelvoort’s skate, and Scheid appearing to get to the rebound, but the puck never crossed the line even though the arena’s goal light and horn went off.
“I didn’t like the way we started the second period,” Barenson said. “Give Penn State credit. They came out and kept us in our own zone and they got the goals.”
The Wolverines then went back in front 36 seconds later, with Copp beating goalie Eamon McAdam from long range 5:52 into the period.
“It’s tough to give up that third goal,” Bailey said. “I think we just need to find a streak. We could build off that and hopefully be better (Saturday).”
It prompted Gadowsky to make the surprising move to pull McAdam in favor of P.J. Musico.
“I know we didn’t give up much at all (in the second period),” Gadowsky said. “It seemed like a pretty harmless wrist shot at the time and I think that was definitely the turning point of the game, so I felt the time was right to try and make a change.”
McAdam made eight saves during his 25-plus minutes of action, while Musico finished with 13 saves.
After seeing third-period action in sizable losses to Wisconsin and Boston College, it was the first time this season Musico has been on the ice when the game was still very much in doubt after starting 10 games last season.
“Because he’s (been in games) twice, I felt more confident putting him in there to see if he could give us a jolt and really inspire us on to come back again,” Gadowsky explained.
However, Hyman beat Musico with the first shot he faced, 50 seconds into his appearance, on a breakaway to bring the margin back to two.
Downing made it 5-2 7:07 into the third, ripping a shot past Musico from the left circle.
Penn State finally answered with 5:31 left as Saar gathered a rebound, waited a moment for traffic to clear a little, then sent the puck top-shelf past Nagelvoort for a brief turn of momentum back to the Lions. The play was reviewed by the officials because Jonathan Milley and Luke Juha had each slid through or near the crease, but the play stood.
Hyman then poked the puck into an empty net with 2:07 left, and with 1:17 left Copp sent the puck past Musico to close the scoring.
Compher opened the scoring 6:05 in, putting the puck past McAdam in a scramble in front of the net
On Michigan’s first power play, the Wolverines cashed in on their first shot, with Guptill firing the puck from the point off the post and in behind McAdam for a 2-0 lead at 9:53.
“The score at the end was 7-3, but it was not a 7-3 game,” Barenson said. “It was a whole different game at ice level.”