Skoff stops 32 as Penn State blanks Michigan to earn first Big Ten win


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State can now say they have won a hockey game as part of the Big Ten conference, as the Nittany Lions shutout the No. 10 Michigan Wolverines, 4-0.

Sophomore goaltender Matt Skoff made 32 saves, earning his third career shutout, as the Nittany Lions outshot the Wolverines, 40-32. Skoff was named the game’s first star and received a standing ovation from the Pegula Ice Arena crowd.

“That’s something I will remember for a long time,” Skoff said.

At the 5:31 mark of the first period, freshman Zach Saar gave Penn State its first lead of the weekend when his second effort from a tough angle took a strange bounce off of Michigan goalie Zach Nagelvoort. It was Saar’s second goal of the weekend and fourth of the season.

Saar said after the game that there was feeling inside the Lions’ dressing room that they “were going to get it done.”

David Glen got his third of the season at 11:24 of the first period when he weaved his way through traffic and took a shot that went through Nagelvoort’s five hole. The weekend series was the first time Glen saw game action since donating bone marrow.

Casey Bailey snapped a shot from the high slot that also got by Nagelvoort after some tape-to-tape passing with Eric Scheid and Ricky DeRosa. The goal at 13:17 of the first period was Bailey’s fifth of the season and second of the weekend.

Already a goal down and with two goals surrendered in less than two minutes, the Wolverines replaced Nagelvoort with Steve Racine.

“They just shot pucks on the net,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson of Penn State’s offense. “I don’t think Zach was ready for at least two of them, just pucks that came out of the corner and went in off him or off somebody. Those goals hurt you, and obviously they give the home team a lift.”

The change worked, as the second period saw no goals but plenty of missed opportunities for both teams. It certainly looked like that would be the case again for the third period.

As time wound down and victory was on the fork, the anticipation turned into celebration when DeRosa redirected a slap shot taken by David Thompson that came from the right point through the legs of Racine, who never saw it. The goal that came at 16:09 of the third period was DeRosa’s fourth of the season.

“I’ve always said, some nights the puck goes in and some nights it doesn’t,” said Berenson. “Tonight it was the other way around. The puck went in for them and it did not go in for us. Their goalie played better than our goalie, and that was the game.”

Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky used one of his favorite words to describe the feeling of winning a big game — fantastic.

“That’s why I came here,” Gadowsky said, referring to winning against big opponents.

With the win, Penn State improves its overall record to 5-18-1 and 1-9-0-0 in the Big Ten, while Michigan falls to 14-7-3 and 6-3-1-1 in the Big Ten.