Penn State 6 - Michigan 4
This has been a season of second chances.
Each time the Wolverines have gotten behind in the national standings they had been able to string together enough wins to get back in it, but this time there wasn't going to be a second chance.
It was do-or-die time. Anything less than 100% on the road wasn't going to get it done and they had to win tonight or their postseason hopes would rest on the conference tournament.
For any chance, Steve Racine would need to buck the trend of disastrous starts in between a string of great ones that Michigan goaltenders have been plagued by this season. The trend continued with Racine giving up his first goal on his 3rd shot faced and had allowed 3-on-10 shots. This game was over before it started.
"That's a tough way to start. We knew they were a good first period team. They got the jump on us. We gave up goals to easily and too early, and it was hard to get those goals back." Berenson said. "I thought our team battled back but nevertheless you give a team a three-goal lead at home, it's going to be hard to overcome that."
Penn State had 3 goals in the first ten minutes before stretching the lead to 4-0 early in the second. Michigan would put up a fight getting goals from Andrew Copp and Justin Selman in the second period and Dylan Larkin added a goal to open the 3rd but Penn State had the answer both times.
"Well our team's not going to quit. We're going to keep playing and trying to turn the game around. It's a game of momentum. But every time we got something going in our favor they bounced back." Berenson noted postgame. "That late goal, the (fifth) goal was a huge goal. When you get within a goal or two and then they score, you're not going to win a game giving up six goals."
Now, things have to be done the hard way. The Wolverines have fallen to 18th in the PairWise and into a tie with Minnesota in the Big Ten standings. They're not eliminated from at-large contention, but the stars will have to align for them to make the postseason without the auto-bid.
Up Next: at Penn State, 3PM Saturday