By Andy Kuros, GoPSUSports.com
student staff writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A game-winning overtime goal by sophomore forward Blake Gober completed No.15 Penn State's comeback win against Michigan in a 5-4 victory Friday night.
Junior forward Chase Berger's game-tying goal at the end of regulation set the stage for Gober, who sent the packed crowd at Pegula Ice Arena home happy after scoring his first goal of the season to cap the victory.
"I just went to the net," Gober said. "Then when I looked up I saw my teammates screaming."
Coming on the heels of a stinging overtime loss last weekend, Friday's Big Ten home opener against Michigan was a different story for the Nittany Lions.
"I think these guys are mentally tough", Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "This game showed it."
It was earlier this week that Gadowsky noted the Nittany Lions are still in the process of finding their identity, with the focus set on getting back to exactly what it is that lifted them to the success they experienced last year.
"I thought we played our best game," Gadowsky said postgame. "We absolutely got back to our identity and it felt really good. It felt like us again."
For junior forward Andrew Sturtz, who tallied one goal and a critical third period assist, the Nittany Lions are making progress.
"Our team worked hard tonight, from top to bottom," Sturtz said. "I think our performance was a step in the right direction."
With an emphasis on shot production also stemming from the 1-1 home opening weekend, Penn State made it clear Gadowsky's voice was heard.
"We got our pucks to the net," Sturtz said. "Our line had a target of 20 shots on goal and we finished with 15. We'll take that."
Penn State's physical play against a hard-nosed Big Ten team also satisfied Gadowksy.
"It was a really tough and physical hockey game and that is the style we like to play," Gadowsky said.
Penn State fell behind by two goals early in the first period, trailing Michigan three separate times throughout the game. The Nittany Lions, however, battled back.
Freshman forward Alex Limoges, whose first collegiate goal tied the game at three in the third period, noted the continuous display of fight, regardless of the score.
"I think we have a lot of resiliency," Limoges said. "The focus of winning the game was always there."
Michigan head coach Mel Pearson was also impressed with Penn State's ability to fight back as adversity struck.
"We would get ahead and they would come back," Pearson said. "I give them credit for staying in it."
Penn State will attempt to complete the sweep against Michigan Saturday, preparing for game two in Pegula Ice Arena. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m.