On a Thursday night at Pegula Arena the Wolverines walked into a rocking building and faced off against Penn State in the year's biggest game to date. It was the first meeting of the top teams in the the Big Ten this season and the first leg of a series that will end Saturday in New York.
The Nittany Lions came out with energy. The crowd was into it and the team battled hard but the Wolverines weathered the storm and scored first thanks to a ferocious forecheck and battle in front of the net that Tyler Motte won.
Penn State fought back and got on the board when Steve Racine kicked a big rebound right at Chase Berger but the Wolverines had an answer and it came from Niko Porikos. With Evan Allen centering a makeshift fourth line, Allen won a faceoff back to Porikos who snapped a shot passed Matthew Skoff for his first career goal.
It seemed like the make-or-break point had come for Michigan and Steve Racine when Vince Pedrie threw a puck at the net from way out that hit Steve Racine in the chest. Racine tried to catch the puck with his glove but batted it into the net to tie the game right before the first intermission.
The million dollar question was, how would Racine respond after allowing such a deflating goal and giving Penn State life in their own building?
It turns out it didn't matter because the Wolverines did what they have done all year. They scored so many goals that the other team couldn't keep up.
Racine did his job coming out of the break to shake off that goal and within ten minutes the Wolverines had two goals. The first came from Kyle Connor on a breakaway. Next JT Compher sunk a pretty backhand feed that Connor fit through traffic and three minutes later Connor had his second of the night.
Leading 5-3 Alex Kile put the game away midway through the third, taking a centering feed from Kyle Connor on a 5-on-3. Just for good measure Tyler Motte added his second of the night to make it seven goals.
If there was any doubt, tonight's performance solidified the line of Kyle Connor, JT Compher and Tyler Motte as the best line in college hockey. They put together another spectacular scoring night with a 2-2--4 line from Connor, 2-3--5 from Motte and 1-1--2 from Compher.
Kyle Connor now leads the nation in scoring with 40 points and has 20 goals, tied for first in goal scoring with Tyler Motte. From now on, we can just refer to them as the Hobey Line.
Up next they'll rematch Penn State Saturday at MSG.