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Michigan advances to Frozen Four in dramatic 2-1 OT victory over Penn State

Just when it seemed luck wasn’t in their favor, the Wolverines pulled one out of the hat to punch their ticket to Tampa.

NCAA HOCKEY: MAR 26 Div I Championship Allentown Regional - Team v Team Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In a single elimination format like the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament, there are few things quite as white knuckle-making as the words “sudden death overtime.” With how the 2021-22 season ended for the Michigan Wolverines, that anxiety was two fold.

In a dramatic reversal of fortunes from that game one year ago, it was the Wolverines who prevailed in a flash of overtime heroics — punching their ticket to the Frozen Four for the second consecutive year and record-extending 27th time in the program’s history.

Here’s how the game broke down for the Wolverines.

First Period

Despite the game being ostensibly a home fixture for the Penn State Nittany Lions, Michigan looked comfortable to start things out, dictating the pace of play for much of the period. What kept the Wolverines from putting that control on paper however was a utter lack of puck luck, with their best chance of the period coming mere inches between a goal and it’s ultimate result of a pipe shot.

Though Michigan was the benefactor of a power play in the first period, the Nittany Lions killed the penalty with relative ease, keeping things level at zero after the first 20 minutes.

Second Period

Once again, the period saw the Wolverines putting the pressure on high against Penn State, only to be seemingly unable to break through. After the Nittany Lions killed a Goaltender Interference power play, Michigan coughed up a costly hooking penalty with just over a minute left in the period.

It ended up being even more costly than the Wolverines hoped as 26 seconds into the power play, Penn State forward Connor MacEachern snuck a shot past Erik Portillo, finally breaking the stalemate.

Third Period / Overtime

Despite the clock being decidedly not in their favor, the Wolverines seemingly slowed up a bit to start the final period of regulation — allowing a two-minute kneeing power play in the fifth minute to come and go with no real chances at finding an equalizer.

Luckily for the Wolverines, the Nittany Lions gave up a second chance in the 12th minute after a holding call on Carter Schade. This time, Michigan didn’t throw away its shot, as Adam Fantilli pressed just enough to break past Liam Souliere’s defenses to reset the score at one a piece.

Though both sides were able to fire off one final shot in the closing seconds of regulation, neither found their mark, sending the game to sudden death. While the intermission between regulation and overtime certainly felt like an eternity for fans of both teams, the Michigan faithful only needed to wait 52 more seconds once the period finally got under way.

An absolute laser of a wrist shot Mackie Samoskevich buried the game winning goal.

What’s next?

Book your flights and reserve your hotel rooms, the Wolverines are traveling to sunny Tampa, Florida for the Frozen Four. In the national semifinal game, Michigan faces off against the second overall seed, Quinnipiac, on April 6, at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2.