By @MichaelCaples –
DETROIT – After their first weekend sweep of the season, the Michigan Wolverines rolled into Joe Louis Arena with a little momentum Thursday night.
It didn’t last long.
Not when the Nittany Lions were looking for some revenge.
Less than a week after losing two straight games at Yost Ice Arena, Penn State dominated play in their Big Ten quarterfinal game with the Wolverines, posting a convincing 4-1 victory.
It was over quickly, really; the Nittany Lions scored three goals in the first period, the last of which being a back-breaking strike with 29 seconds to go from David Goodwin.
“You knew it would be a hard fought game,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said after the game. “We just played Penn State two games at Yost last weekend. And I thought the team that got the best start tonight was going to have the advantage, and obviously they took advantage. They scored I think with six seconds left in that penalty, and then scored a late goal, last-minute goal in the first period, and we just couldn’t answer the bell.
“It was a tough night to get things started offensively. Their goalie was good when he had to be, and give Penn State credit, they played hard the whole game and they played the right way. We just weren’t good enough.”
A lone goal from freshman James Sanchez in the middle frame (the Wolverines also had a goal overturned due to them entering the PSU zone offside) wasn’t enough for Michigan. The Wolverines conclude the season with a 13-19-3 record.
Now, the attention shifts to Berenson’s future with the program. Will the legendary head coach return for another season in Ann Arbor? Berenson said after the game that he has met with athletic director Warde Manuel, and that they have agreed to discuss the coaching situation after the Frozen Four.
“Well, I’m disappointed that it was an issue, and I don’t know where it started,” Berenson said when asked about the speculation surrounding his job earlier this week. “But I can tell you where it is. It’s similar to last year, where I’m going to have a meeting with Ward Manuel. We talked on Tuesday, and we talked about revisiting the hockey program’s coaching situation after the Frozen Four, and we’ll decide what’s best for the program.
“So there’s been nothing decided. There’s been no ultimatums, nothing like that. So Ward is busy now with the basketball tournament, and we were hoping to be more busy with the Big Ten hockey tournament. But that’s what it is, so you can forget about it for now.”
The Frozen Four takes place in Chicago April 6-8.
Photos by Andrew Knapik/MiHockey