EAST LANSING, Mich. — A cliché summed up Penn State’s two-game weekend against Michigan State. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
Despite a poor start and comeback to tie the game Friday night, Penn State gave up a late power play goal that ended up being the winner for the Spartans.
The finish was much better for the Lions the second time around. For the first time in program history, the Lions came back when trailing after the first period in a 3-2 win to earn a weekend split with the Spartans. The win improves the team’s record to 10-13-0.
It appeared the game would be headed for overtime with a tight game going back and forth in the third period.
But the atmosphere completely changed when junior center Taylor Holstrom extended his point streak to six games by netting his seventh goal of the season — the gamewinner — with four minutes remaining.
It was the first time Michigan State trailed during the two-game weekend series.
Michigan State got a lucky bounce at the start of the game — it got its first goal when freshman goalie Matt Skoff had the puck bounce out of his glove after making a save and into the net. Spartan defenseman R.J. Boyd was given credit for the goal.
The Spartans took a two-goal lead after a rocket slap shot from defenseman Matt Grassi snuck past Skoff.
“I just kept telling myself that our team is going to keep fighting and I was going to do the same for the boys,” Skoff said after stopping 31 Michigan State shots. “Luckily we were able to finish it with three unanswered goals.”
Despite the Spartans’ student section chanting, “You let the whole team down,” the Nittany Lions’ goalie would not let another puck by him.
Skoff said he enjoyed the atmosphere of 6,132 fans cheering against him at the Munn Ice Arena because the fans help him stay in the game mentally.
Michigan-born freshman defenseman Mark Yanis scored his third goal of the season on the power play. Spartan goalie Jake Hildebrand left a big rebound and a wide-open net to put Penn State on the scoreboard just 32 seconds into the second period.
The Nittany Lions went 1-for-4 on the power play on the night while they killed all three penalties called against them.
Freshman winger Casey Bailey tied the game with his 12th goal of year. Bailey finished the night with an assist and is currently on a seven-game point streak.
“We were playing [well] and I knew we had another one in us,” Holstrom said. “We had all four lines going. Everybody [got] pucks in deep and did all the little things [right].”
Head coach Guy Gadowsky said he was surprised and that the win was “very satisfying.”
With the win, the Nittany Lions have won two out of three games against Big Ten schools. They defeated Ohio State, 5-4, at the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh.