The Penn State men’s hockey team just cannot contain the Michigan offense.
The No. 9 Wolverines scored five third-period goals, including four in just over seven minutes to open the frame, and thumped No. 14 Penn State 7-1 Friday night at Yost Ice Arena.
Michigan has outscored the Nittany Lions 11-1 in the third period in the team’s three meetings this season, and 20-8 overall.
The Wolverine win clinched a first-round bye for the Big Ten tournament next weekend, and secured third place in the conference for the Nittany Lions. Michigan can still catch Minesota for the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament, which begins Thursday in St. Paul, Minn.
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Andrew Sturtz netted the lone Penn State goal. It marked just the second time all season, though the second straight game, the Nittany Lions lost after scoring the game’s first goal.
Eamon McAdam made 23 saves before being chased in the third period, with 11 saves for Chris Funkey in relief.
Kyle Connor and Justin Selman scored two goals each while one apiece came from Tony Calderone, Cristoval Nieves and Max Shuart. Steve Racine stopped 35 shots.
The teams meet again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday to close the regular season as the Wolverines try to sweep the season series between the teams.
Penn State found the net early when David Glen fired a shot in the slot that bounced off Sturtz and past Racine. David Goodwin fed the puck to Glen to start the play.
“I just tried to get in front of the net for a good screen,” Sturtz told CN900 during the first intermission. “It ended up hitting off Racine ... hitting off my kneecap and just going into the net. We’ll take them however we can get them.”
A turnover later in the first period tied it, when JT Compher swiped an attempted clearing pass along the boards and immediately fed the puck to Connor.
Calderone put the Wolverines in front in the second off another turnover, with Cooper Marody feeding the puck from the boards to Calderone breaking alone through the middle, beating McAdam one on one.
The tight game was decided quickly in the third.
Connor scored again 30 seconds into the frame, with Compher feeding the puck across for the one-timer on a power play for the freshman’s 28th goal of the season.
“The penalty we took at the end of the second period kind of broke our back a little bit when they came out and scored 30 seconds into the third period,” assistant coach Keith Fisher told Penn State Sports Information after the game.
Selman added to the lead on another power play less than three minutes later, converting from the slot.
Nieves then scored when he was left alone on the doorstep to tap in the puck and chase McAdam from the game. Funkey finished the contest.
Selman added his second of the game with a shorthanded score, swatting in a rebound as the puck floated over Funkey’s shoulder.
Shuart found the top shelf on a power play late in the third to complete the scoring.
Notes: Michigan finished 3 for 6 on the power play. Penn State was 0 for 5. ... The teams combined for 14 penalties for 28 minutes. ... The Nittany Lions, already battling through injuries, lost defenseman Kevin Kerr for a while in the second period when he took a check and landed awkwardly against the boards. He left the ice holding his left arm but returned. In the third, Alec Marsh was checked and fell backward into the boards, hitting his head. He staggered to the bench and was helped to the locker room minutes later. ... Penn State was held to one goal for the sixth time this season. ... The Nittany Lions will meet No. 6 seed Wisconsin in the Big Ten first round on Thursday.