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Return of the Mac: Spartans sweep Nittany Lions

Mackenzie MacEachern provided all the offense as Michigan State defeats Penn State 3-2

Not the MacEachern hat trick bucket because who would wear a Devils hat?
Not the MacEachern hat trick bucket because who would wear a Devils hat?
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

OK, so yeah Mackenzie MacEachern really never went anywhere, so saying Return of the Mac as a headline really isn't perfect. However, I will use any excuse to reference the 1996 smash hit "Return Of The Mack" by England's own Mark Morrison, a staple of my college pre-gaming days.

There's that energy I need to recover from a full day of paper writing on Sunday, I can do this thing they call Monday now.

Your stats table

Michigan State Spartans vs. #19 Penn State Nittany Lions
3 Goals 2
29 Shots 42
2/7 Power Play 1/4
Mackenzie MacEachern (8,9,10) Goal Scorers Connor Varley (2), Casey Bailey (20)

Your highlights

Some Analysis

  • We may look back at this weekend as the time we saw Mackenzie MacEachern turn the corner as a college hockey player. After a goal and an assist Friday night, MacEachern got his first career hat trick on Saturday. That means MacEachern was directly involved in 5 of the 6 goals on the weekend for the Spartans.
  • MacEachern's three goals Saturday were each a different type of goal, showing some great versatility from the Sophomore forward. The first goal was a bounce off the boards behind the Penn State net that MacEachern snapped into an open net. The second goal was being set up in the perfect position and showing quick hands to put home a rebound goal during a 5-on-3 power play. The final goal was similar, using perfect positioning to set himself up to finish a perfect pass from Matt Berry on the power play.
  • Jake Hildebrand kept this team in the game through a barrage of shots. Penn State took 62.14% of the total shot attempts with 87 total attempts on the night. Hildebrand has once again been excellent as the season wears on and will be relied upon down the stretch of the season.
  • Mackenzie MacEachern was given the game puck in the locker room and decided to then hand the puck off to Joe Cox. Cox led the team with 5 blocked shots and found ways to be involved in the game despite 1 total shot attempt.
  • The MacEachern-DeBlouw-Berry line was by far the best for the Spartans. They had 20 of the 53 total shot attempts for the Spartans and will likely stay together even if Brent Darnell returns to the lineup soon.
  • Penn State's goals do provide some corrections for Michigan State. The first goal was a slap shot from the point on the power play where the penalty kill was a little too relaxed and didn't pressure as much as they could have. The second goal was a 5-on-4 goal with the Nittany Lions' goalie pulled for an extra attacker. Michael Ferrantino keeps his stick towards the boards and loses a man tracking to the middle of the ice. He should have had his stick in that passing lane but instead the lethal Casey Bailey finally got on the scoresheet with a wide open shooting lane in the slot.

Looking back at the keys to success

  1. Discipline- The Spartans only allowed 7 power plays on the weekend but did surrender a power play goal against.
  2. Take a cue from Penn State- The Spartans didn't shoot above their average and lost the possession battle by a lot Saturday.
  3. Travis Walsh and Josh Jacobs- They held the Bailey line to just the one goal on the weekend, a huge reason the Spartans were able to sweep a low scoring series.

Looking ahead

Next weekend the Spartans play on  the road at Wisconsin, who got their first B1G win of the season over Ohio State.

Around the B1G

Minnesota swept Michigan to vault themselves into a tie for first place. Penn State and Michigan State are tied for third just 2 points back of the Gophers and Wolverines. Wisconsin and Ohio State split their series.

Your reaction gif

Courtesy of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and sticking with the Mac theme, here is Dennis, Frank and Mac reacting to the Spartans sweep.