The newest addition to Division I men’s college hockey wasn’t intimidated by its first postseason experience.
Penn State upset Michigan, the winningest program in the sport, 2-1 in double overtime in the first round of the Big Ten hockey tournament on Thursday afternoon at Xcel Energy Center.
Zach Saar scored off a faceoff 12 minutes, 47 seconds into the second extra period to end the 92:47 game. Dylan Richard won the faceoff and Saar flicked the loose puck in from the middle of the left circle.
Penn State goaltender Matthew Skoff finished with 52 saves and Michigan goaltender Zach Nagelvoort stopped 63.
The Nittany Lions won just seven games in their second varsity season. But two of their three Big Ten wins were against No. 12 Michigan.
The Wolverines tied the game on Phil Di Giuseppe’s goal with nine minutes to play in the third period and nearly won in overtime. One of their 15 shots on goal in the period hit the post and danced on the goal line, but was kicked out by Blaine native Eric Scheid. Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky hugged the sophomore when he returned to the bench and asked him if he had ever played soccer.
“It was an endurance contest, obviously. We knew it would be a hard-fought game and it would be a close game,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “I’m disappointed, obviously. We’ve been on kind of a bubble here the last few weeks. We didn’t help ourselves tonight.”
Michigan dropped to a tie for 16th in the PairWise rankings after the loss. The ranking system mirrors how the NCAA picks the at-large teams for its 16-team tournament field.