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Michigan hockey sweeps Penn State to extend win streak to four

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The Wolverines took down the Nittany Lions twice over the weekend.

COLLEGE HOCKEY: JAN 19 Penn State at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines’ hockey team extended its winning streak to four games as they took down Penn State 3-2 and 4-3 in the two-game series this past weekend.

With the sweep, Michigan moved to first place in the Big Ten, just ahead of Minnesota and Ohio State.

Special Teams

Michigan’s special teams went a long way towards the two wins, scoring three of its seven goals against Penn State. Scoring two power play goals Friday night, the Wolverines were able to take advantage of Penn State’s netminder Oskar Autio’s attempt to move the puck up the ice, which led to Nolan Moyle tipping it out of midair and scoring on a breakaway with Jimmy Lambert. Michigan killed off all nine of its shorthanded situations last weekend, including a five-minute major from Nolan Moyle on Friday. The Wolverines’ special teams are trending at the right time as we get closer and closer to tournament play.

The Big Guns Continue to Show Up

Kent Johnson, Matty Beniers and Brendan Brisson all were named to their respective Olympic teams this past week, and did they ever show why, combining for five points each on the weekend. Brisson won the game for Michigan in its come from behind win Saturday, with having a hand in two of the final three goals including the game-winner. Point blank, that’s the most offensively dominant line in college hockey. If they continue to play like that, they’ll play in the Frozen Four.

Erik Portillo

Because of how many offensive weapons the Wolverines have, it’s easy to look past how good the netminder has been. He’s made 25 straight starts and set a new personal best with 44 saves against PSU while allowing three goals to bump his record up to 18-6-1 this year. Through 25 games, he now has a .925 save percentage and 2.31 goals against average, which ranks him in the top 20 for all stats for goalies.

Next Up

Michigan will travel to Minneapolis next week to take on Minnesota in huge series that could potentially decide the Big Ten. The Golden Gophers sit in third place but are only four points behind Michigan for first place. The Wolverines split with them when they played in Ann Arbor back in early December.