OT goal sends Michigan hockey to NCAA Frozen Four for second straight year

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

A quick goal in the opening minute of overtime advanced Michigan to the NCAA Frozen Four for a second straight year.

Mackie Samoskevich scored 52 seconds into overtime to lift the Wolverines to a 2-1 victory over Penn State Sunday night at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Michigan will face Quinnipiac, which defeated Ohio State, 4-1, on Sunday, in a national semifinal in Tampa at 8:30 p.m. April 6. Minnesota, the No. 1 overall seed, will face Boston University in the other semifinal. The title game is April 8.

Michigan, considered the youngest team in Division I with five seniors and 17 underclassmen, including 12 freshmen, is 26-11-3 under interim coach Brandon Naurato. This is the program’s 27th trip to the Frozen Four and second straight.

The game was highlighted by outstanding goaltending. Penn State’s Liam Souliere faced 43 shots and Michigan’s Erik Portillo saw 32. During the regular season, Penn State, led by Souliere’s goaltending, won the first meeting, 3-0, the Wolverines’ only shutout loss of the season, but Michigan won the final three games in the series.

Penn State carried a 1-0 lead into third period, but Michigan tied it when Adam Fantilli, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Hobey Baker Award finalist, scored a power-play goal with 7:52 left in the third. The Wolverines were 0-3 on the power play before that goal.

Fantilli leads the nation with 64 points on 29 goals and 35 assists.

It was top-notch goaltending throughout regulation from Souliere and Portillo, who combined to face 73 shots, with Souliere stopping 40.

On the heels of Michigan’s second fruitless power play of the game, Penn State went on the power play with 1:28 left in the second period when Michigan’s Jackson Hallum was called for hooking. The Nittany Lions took the 1-0 lead on a goal from senior Connor MacEachern on a rebound from the right side with 1:02 left.

The Wolverines had their chances and were ahead in shots, 25-22, at the end of two periods.

It was a high-tempo first period, and both goalies were at the top of their games, each stopping 14 shots.

The Wolverines were on the power play about five minutes into the game, and took four shots during the two minutes to gain a 7-3 shots-on-goal advantage but came away empty handed. Michigan was foiled on several good chances.

Fantilli had a one-timer at 9:49 in the period, but Souliere made a great save. With 3:38 left, Ethan Edwards briefly celebrated what he thought was a goal, but the puck deflected wide off the goal.


Twitter: @angelique