It happened. Penn State managed to beat Michigan… AGAIN. How did they do it? SHOTS!
Seriously, they took a lot of shots. They put 44 on net in regulation time, which means they probably attempted somewhere near 80 shots in sixty minutes (blocks, misses [I don’t have the official charts]). That’s an impressive number for any team. Unfortunately, many of those shots were limp-wristed backhands from bad angles, which is why they only managed one goal in regulation. Including the two OT periods, Penn State had an eye-popping 65 shots on goal.
For their part, the Wolverines put 53 shots onto goaltender Matthew Skoff, who obviously played a very good game. His performance outshines Wolverine Zach Nagelvoort only because Skoff took the win.
Penn State’s record against Michigan this year will finish at an impressive three wins and two losses. Simply put, they know how to beat the Wolverines. However, that doesn’t mean that today’s isn’t a surprising upset; it definitely is. Michigan came in with everything to lose: a legitimate shot at the first B1G Ten Hockey Tournament championship, an automatic qualification in the , or even an at large bid.
Maybe the young Wolverines came into the afternoon feeling all that pressure from a year’s worth of work and played tight. Maybe they just didn’t convert a second chance on 52 of their shots. Whatever the reason, their conference campaign is over and their NCAA hopes are hanging on by a thread. They’re now tied for 16th in the Pairwise rankings, and they’re likely to get bounced by an automatic qualifier from a lesser conference tournament.
Here’s what Red Berenson had to say about his team after the loss:
"Well, they’re very disappointed; devastated. The one thing I can tell you, our team was not overconfident coming into this, they’ve beaten us twice in four games. We’re disappointed we didn’t play well and win. It’s all about winning this time of year."
Penn State plays Wisconsin Friday at 2 PM Central Time. Michigan will now await their fate, which will be announced on Sunday, but that fate might already be a foregone conclusion.