Spartans Drop Nittany Lions in First-Ever Meeting
Jan. 25, 2013
East Lansing, Mich. -- - Tanner Sorenson broke a 3-3 tie with a power-play goal with just over five minutes remaining in the game to help Michigan State to a 5-3 victory over Penn State on Friday evening. Sorenson's game-winning tally was his second marker of the night, and Will Yanakeff made 27 saves as improved MSU's record to 7-15-3. Penn State had three different scorers, and got 27 saves from goalie Matthew Skoff in the loss.
"Well, obviously, it's nice to get the win," said head coach Tom Anastos. "I thought we competed hard, got some good looks, and there were even a couple of pretty goals. We also had some great looks where we didn't get off a shot on net, and some things we'd obviously like to tighten up.
"Penn State is what we thought they'd be - they are well coached, and play hard," continued Anastos. "We knew that they would come in and compete. I was happy to see Will Yanakeff get the win, and make no mistake - he had to earn it. "
The Spartans jumped on the board first, at 12:42 of the opening period. Michael Ferrantino potted his second of the year as he backhanded the puck past Skoff blocker-side. Assists went to Ryan Keller and Anthony Hayes.
Just under two minutes later, the Nittany Lions had their best chance of the period, as Tommy Olczyk forced a turnover in the neutral zone and went in alone on Yanakeff; the goalie made the pad save to keep PSU off the board.
The Spartans doubled their lead at 6:55. RJ Boyd sent a long outlet pass for Tanner Sorenson, who went in on the breakaway, faked backhand, and beat Skoff in the top right corner for his seventh goal of the season.
On the goal, blueliner Brian Dolan was whistled for slashing, putting the Spartans on the power play. However, it turned into an advantage for the visitors, as Connor Varley set up Olczyk for a shorthanded wrister that beat Yanakeff blocker side. It was Olczyk's third goal of the season.
At 14:38, a backhander into the upper left corner by junior centerman Taylor Holstrom pulled the Nittany Lions even with the Spartans, 2-2. Max Gardiner and Casey Bailey were credited with assists on the play.
The two teams traded goals less than a minute apart to send the squads into the locker room tied at 3-3. MSU regained the lead at 15:58. Kevin Walrod wristed a shot from the right circle beat Skoff for his third goal of the season, with the assist going to Jake Chelios. Fifteen seconds later, David Glen poked home a loose puck that trickled behind Yanakeff at the left post to once again knot the score.
The game winner came on a major power play for the Spartans - a man advantage which featured the best puck movement of the night for MSU. Connor Varley was whistled for hitting from behind at 12:24, and MSU spent most of the first three minutes in its offensive zone. At 14:17, Walsh backhanded the puck from the hash marks to Sorenson in the left circle, and Sorenson's one-timer found its mark.
Skoff headed to the bench in favor of an extra skater with 1:58 remaining in regulation, as the Nittany Lions were looking for an equalizer. PSU tried desperately to generate a goal, getting traffic in front of Yanakeff and trying to cycle down low. The Spartans broke out of the zone with 30 seconds remaining, and Lee Reimer fed Greg Wolfe for the empty-net tally with 16 seconds remaining.
The two teams will face off again on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena. The game will air live on the Big Ten Network.
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