The Nittany Lions thought they were headed to a second straight win and another big step for the program.
Michigan State had other ideas.
Michael Ferrantino scored with just under four minutes left in regulation, and Brent Darnell had the only score of a seven-round shootout to lift the Spartans past the Penn Stae ice hockey team on Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
“No one’s at all happy in the locker room,” coach Guy Gadowsky said after the game officially ended in a 2-2 tie in the Nittany Lions’ second foray into a shootout and the first in Big Ten play. Michigan State had its nation-high seventh shootout of the year.
Lee Reimer scored earlier for the Spartans (8-13-7, 2-5-6-4), while Jake Hildebrand made 25 saves along with denying all seven shootout attempts.
Ricky DeRosa and Dylan Richard scored for Penn State (5-18-2, 1-9-1-0), and Matthew Skoff stopped 32 attempts.
The teams meet again at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Nittany Lions know they let Friday’s game get away from them.
“We kind of got away from our game,” Richard said. “In that situation you’d really like to keep going and play offense instead of sitting back.”
“We talk about playing to win, and not, not playing to lose,” DeRosa added. “We just kind of got away from our game, Penn State hockey, in the third.”
Michigan State outshot Penn State 12-5 in the period, keeping up the pressure throughout, and the Nittany Lions rarely had control of the puck.
“I felt that we would come out and play a great third,” Gadowsky said. “That’s what I’m probably disappointed about. They outshot us 12-5. I was surprised that we didn’t come out a lot hungrier.”
The Spartans finally spoiled the party with 3:54 left when Matt Berry’s shot was blocked by Skoff but bounced right to Ferrantino with an open net to tie it.
“It’s a learning experience,” Gadowsky said. “Going into the third with a one-goal lead, that’s the first time we had that opportunity, certainly in the Big Ten, I’m optimistic we’ll learn from that.”
There were a number of missed Lion opportunities earlier in the game, including Eric Scheid and David Glen each hitting a post with shots.
They also had a little momentum after killing a 5-on-3 Spartan advantage for nearly two minutes in the third.
“When you kill a 5-on-3 for as long as we did that can sometimes give you a lot of momentum,” Gadowsky said. “I was hoping that it would.”
The shootout certainly built the drama as each attempt was blocked or missed.
Ferrantino, Reimer, Joe Cox, Greg Wolfe, Berry and Villiam Haag were all denied for Michigan State before Darnell found success.
Eric Scheid, Michael McDonagh, Richard, Casey Bailey, Jacob Friedman and Kenny Brooks were all stopped, with David Glen denied on the night’s final attempt.
“It was a good experience,” Richard said. “The crowd was crazy. It was fun. It was a special moment. It didn’t go the right way, but it was still fun.”
Aside from the late tying goal, all the scoring came in the second period.
Just as a Penn State power play ended, the Lions could not hold the puck in the offensive zone, and Reimer picked it up at center ice for a breakaway to beat Skoff for the first goal.
Penn State struck back quickly. First, Eric Scheid poked the puck away from a Spartan defenseman and drove in on the right side, dropping the puck back for DeRosa for a one-timer past Hildebrand.
Just 1:05 later, seconds into a power play, Bailey fired a shot from near the blue line that found a wide-open Richard next to the net for an easy tap-in and a 2-1 lead.
“I think it ricocheted off a few people,” Richard said. “It just kind of ended up right in front of me.”
It put the Nittany Lions on top, but they could not hold the lead all the way to the finish line.
“I expected them to play hard and play with confidence,” Spartans coach Tom Anastos said. “I thought they did that, especially coming off a big win that they had last weekend against Michigan.”