Penn State men’s hockey (9-7-2, 4-4-2 Big Ten) routed No. 11 Ohio State on Saturday night in game two of the teams’ series in Columbus. The win gave the Nittany Lions a huge series victory and extended their unbeaten run to six games.
Andrew Sturtz and Denis Smirnov scored for the Nittany Lions in the second period, while Brandon Biro and Liam Folkes scored in the third to cap off one of the Nittany Lions’ most complete efforts of the season.
Sophomore goaltender Peyton Jones dazzled for Penn State, making 33 saves en route to his first shutout of the season.
How It Happened
An uneventful first period saw both teams fail to score, but the second period was much more lively and eventful for those in attendance at Value City Arena.
Despite an early penalty, the second period got off to a fast start for the Nittany Lions. Andrew Sturtz scored a shorthanded goal to open the scoring at 1:22 of the second period. Defenseman Trevor Hamilton picked up the lone assist on Sturtz’s team-leading tenth goal of the season.
The Buckeyes responded well to the shorthanded goal, generating a flurry of chances on Peyton Jones’ net. However, Jones was up to the challenge and played extremely well throughout the second period. His heroics kept Penn State in the lead throughout the majority of the second period.
Momentum shifted in the Nittany Lions’ favor when Denis Smirnov marked his return to the lineup with a goal with 13:39 remaining in the second period. Smirnov’s sixth of the season came 4:59 after Andrew Sturtz opened the scoring and was assisted by Brandon Biro and Cole Hults.
Penn State was the aggressor for the remainder of the second period after Smirnov’s goal. After finishing the first period with just five shots, the Nittany Lions fired 16 on Buckeye goaltender Sean Romeo throughout the second frame. Romeo was on fire heading into the weekend, but struggled at times over the course of the weekend.
In the third and final stanza of tonight’s game, Penn State kept its foot on the gas in order to finish off the Buckeyes. The team recorded the first eight shots on goal of the period, including a back-breaking goal by sophomore Brandon Biro.
Biro’s fifth of the season would not have happened if not for a beautiful cross-ice pass by Trevor Hamilton. Liam Folkes picked up the secondary assist on the goal, which killed any hopes of a Buckeye comeback.
Liam Folkes picked up a late goal to put the icing on the cake of what may be Penn State’s best 60-minute effort of the season. Freshmen Evan Barratt and Alex Limoges picked up assists on Folkes’ sixth of the season.
Player Of The Game
Peyton Jones | Sophomore | Goaltender
Penn State’s defense and goaltending has struggled throughout the season so far. However, this was probably goaltender Peyton Jones’ best effort all season.
He made 33 saves to pick up his first shutout of the season, making several nifty glove saves throughout the afternoon. The Langhorne, PA native was the Nittany Lions’ rock all game long en route to a huge victory.
Penn State is back in action next weekend with two games against Robert Morris; the first of those games will be played at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The puck drops at 7 p.m.