Penn State Hockey

Michigan rolls over Penn State hockey to close season

Michigan’s Cristoval Nieves (12) celebrates after scoring goal during the Wolverines’ 7-1 win against Penn State at Yost Ice Arena on Friday in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Michigan’s Cristoval Nieves (12) celebrates after scoring goal during the Wolverines’ 7-1 win against Penn State at Yost Ice Arena on Friday in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Ann Arbor News via The Associated Press

It was not the regular-season finale the Penn State men’s hockey team was hoping to experience.

The No. 9 Michigan scoring machine was too much to handle once again in a 6-1 win Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena.

Kyle Connor scored twice to lead the Wolverines (22-7-5, 12-5-3-2 Big Ten), giving him 30 on the season, now leading the nation in goals and total points.

Cristoval Nieves also netted a pair of goals for the nation’s top-scoring offense, which outshot the shorthanded Nittany Lions 57-31. Max Shuart and JT Compher also scored, and Tyler Motte and Zach Werenski picked up two assists each.

The 56 shots allowed is a single-game record for Penn State, passing the 53 the Wolverines put on the Nittany Lion net in a double-overtime game in 2014.

Eric Scheid scored a first-period goal for Penn State (20-12-4, 10-9-1-1), who were just 0 for 1 on the power play. Michigan was 3 for 6.

After losing 7-1 Friday, the Lions were held to one goal in back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Eamon McAdam started and took the loss, making 25 saves. Matthew Skoff played the second half of the game and stopped 26 shots.

Steve Racine made 21 saves before departing midway through the third period to a loud ovation on Senior Night in his final home game. Zach Nagelvoort finished the final 11:51 and made nine saves.

Connor started the game’s scoring 6:27 into the game, beating McAdam on a 2 on 1 break.

Not long after, Penn State had the game tied. Kenny Brooks won a battle behind the net and got the puck to Chase Berger. The freshman got the puck to Scheid, who raced into the offensive zone along the boards, hit the brakes near the faceoff circle to Racine’s right and fired the puck past the senior goalie.

But from there, it was an avalanche of Wolverine scoring to complete the sweep of the weekend and the season series between the teams. Michigan outscored Penn State 13-2 on the weekend and 26-9 for the season.

Penn State played with only three full, healthy forward lines, plus one extra skater in Zach Saar. Then late in the first period Ricky DeRosa was given a 5-minute major penalty and game misconduct, leaving just nine skating forwards.

Defenseman Luke Juha and forward Alec Marsh, each of whom skated Friday, did not play Saturday, and forward Kenny Brooks was moved back to help the defensemen.

Penn State returns to the ice in St. Paul, Minn., at the Big Ten tournament, facing Wisconsin in the first round Thursday. The Nittany Lions will be the No. 3 seed, while the Badgers are sixth. Michigan had a chance to be No. 1, but Minnesota beat Wisconsin 4-1 to lock up the top spot by one point in the final standings.

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