Pegula Ice Arena was rocking Friday night after a dramatic comeback win for the Penn State hockey team.
Chase Berger scored with 92 seconds left in regulation, and Blake Gober netted the winner 53 seconds into overtime to give the No. 15 Nittany Lions a 5-4 victory over Michigan.
Andrew Sturtz, Denis Smirnov and Alex Limoges scored the other goals for Penn State (4-3, 2-1 Big Ten), which got back to its preferred style of play, peppering the net with a 54-35 advantage in shots.
“Even if we lost, I thought we played our best game, and absolutely 100 percent (played) the game most to our identity,” coach Guy Gadowsly told the media at the arena. “It felt really good.”
Dexter Dancs scored twice for the Wolverines (3-2, 0-1), with one goal each for Will Lockwood and Cooper Marody.
Peyton Jones posted 31 saves, while his counterpart, Jack LaFontaine, stopped 49 shots.
The goal for Limoges was the first of his collegiate career 4:32 into the third period, while the score for Smirnov was his fifth of the season.
Marody had given Michigan its third lead of the game 1:27 after the Limoges goal, and the Wolverines held that advantage until Berger ignited the packed arena with his score.
“It’s certainly positive,” Gadowsky said. “These guys are resilient. I think they’re tough, they’re mentally tough.”
Player of the Game
Gober, a sophomore who came into the game with just one goal and five assists on his Nittany Lion resume, netted the winner by crashing the net for the doorstep score with help from James Robinson.
“I saw nothing to be honest,” Gober said. “I just went to the net. I saw Jim screaming. It was a good play by him. I’ll take it.”
The hard work that delivered the goal appealed to Gadowsky.
“Just an unbelievable play by ‘Jimmy Pucks,’” Gadowsky said. “Just a tremendous play. … That goal was a lot of what we saw last year. It was a great ‘Penn State hockey’ goal.”
Nearing a milestone
Sturtz’s goal was the 44th of his career, matching David Goodwin’s career total for second place on the program list and one behind the record set by Casey Bailey. Sturtz picked up the goal right after stepping out of the penalty box, lifting a wrist shot in with 3:54 left in the first period.
After sitting out the last two weeks with an injury, freshman Evan Barratt returned to the lineup, picking up an assist on Limoges’ goal.
The teams complete their two-game series at 8 p.m. Saturday at Pegula Ice Arena.