The Penn State men’s hockey team is still trying to solve the riddle of the shootout.
Michigan State made sure the search would continue.
Brent Darnell scored the lone goal during a shootout to give the Spartans the win after the teams skated to a 2-2 tie Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
Eric Scheid and David Goodwin netted the goals for Penn State (10-7-3, 4-2-1-0), which dropped out of first place in the Big Ten, now two points behind Michigan.
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Ryan Keller and Villiam Haag scored for Michigan State (7-10-2, 1-2-2-2)
“It’s nice to see us battle back,” coach Guy Gadowsky said. “But any time you leave the rink without a win, it doesn’t feel great.”
The teams meet again at 5 p.m. Saturday, with the Nittany Lions showing off their alternate third jersey.
Eamon McAdam made 33 saves in the Penn State net, while his counterpart, Jake Hildebrand, had a busy night with 48 saves.
Scheid, Kenny Brooks and Casey Bailey all were stopped during the shootout. Michael Ferrantino was stuffed by McAdam on the Spartans’ first shootout try.
Officially, Penn State is 0-2 on shootouts — both against the Spartans, although there have been two others the Lions have also lost with a total of one goal scored in all of them.
“It is frustrating,” Gadowsky said. “We do practice it. It’s just one of those things. Maybe all it takes is one and the tide will shift.”
The game also marked another game in which the Nittany Lions were forced to make a third-period rally. One week earlier, they came back from four goals down against Ohio State, only to lose in overtime.
“That whole act is kind of getting old,” Goodwin said. “Talking after the game with some of the guys, we need to start being the team out in front and having teams chase us. We’re not going to win consistently coming from behind.”
Keller opened the scoring with 3:49 left in the first, knocking down a rebound that had popped over McAdam’s shoulder on the side of the net. While “boo’s” rained down on the ice from the fans after it appeared Keller possibly played the puck with a high stick and McAdam was hit by a Spartan on the play, officials reviewed the play and allowed the score.
Goals were then traded in the final minute of the first period as the teams were skating 4 on 4. First, Scheid had a breakaway, skating in from the left and sweeping across the front. Hildebrand got a piece of the puck, but it trickled just barely over the line to tie it with 59 seconds left for Scheid’s 10th goal of the season.
Just 16 seconds later, a blast from Haag put Michigan State back in the lead.
It appeared Dylan Richard had the game tied again seconds later, knocking in a rebound, but the officials waved it off.
The 2-1 margin held until Penn State tied it with 7:49 left in regulation. Bailey started the sequence by centering the puck from the corner to Taylor Holstrom, whose shot was blocked by Hildebrand, but Goodwin pounced on the rebound in the slot to force overtime.
“Bailey and I have a saying, ‘You want to score you go to the net,’” Goodwin said. “It wasn’t pretty. I went to the net and it popped out to me. I thought I was due. I thought I had a lot of Grade-A chances tonight that slipped away.”
Michigan State coach Tom Anastos thought his team was prepared for the way Penn State throws the puck toward the net so much – except on that goal.
“I’m still stewing over giving up that tying goal,” Anastos said. “We had players back. We didn’t do our jobs. We had missed assignments.”
The Nittany Lions hit the ice with “409” stickers on the sides of their helmets. The numbers were added Friday afternoon after the NCAA announced it would return the 112 vacated wins to the football team in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The wins gave former coach Joe Paterno 409 career wins, putting him back atop Division I football’s all-time wins list. In the game’s first minute, the student section began chanting “409!” and then “Joe Paterno!”
“We received some good news, something the students were excited about,” Gadowsky said of the helmet additions. “It was a way to join them in something they felt was positive. It’s a one-time thing.”
Still, the excitement of the day was tempered by another loss at evening’s end.
“It’s a bummer,” Goodwin said. “You’ve just got to look forward to (Saturday).”