Penn State men’s hockey (13-7-3, 6-4-3) took on No. 6 Ohio State (14-5-4, 7-5-1) in Pegula Ice Arena on Friday night in front of a packed crowd.
The Nittany Lions came out sharp, putting two early goals on the board en route to a 5-2 victory over a very talented Ohio State side. Barratt tucked away two goals on the night, while Sturtz, Sucese, and Smirnov each scored a goal apiece.
How It Happened
The game started out, as one might expect, with some big hits. Andrew Sturtz laid the boom on an unsuspecting Buckeye before James Robinson did the same. Because of that hit, however, James Robinson was sent to the penalty box for 2 minutes for elbowing 2:18 into the opening period. The ensuing Nittany Lions penalty kill was absolutely flawless, much to the delight of the crowd.
With 14:42 remaining in the opening period, Trevor Hamilton – set up at the point – fired one in just right of net which deflected nicely off of the boards to a trailing Smirnov. The Russian, of course, slotted it away with ease to give Penn State a 1-0 lead.
Sturtz came flying down the right wing on the break with 11:36, deking one defender before firing a laser at Sean Romeo in goal. Romeo came up with an unbelievable snare, but the attacking play continued to look strong for Gadowsky’s squad.
The momentum in Penn State’s favor just kept coming early on. Sucese tucked one away on the 2-on-1 break after Smirnov led the charge and fed his teammate with precision. Penn State, despite trailing 15-11 in shots, went into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead.
2:14 into the second period, Penn State’s Evan Barratt was sent to the penalty box for tripping. Ohio State scored in the ensuing power play as Mason Jobst cleaned up a rebound to make it a one-goal game.
Sasha Larocque was sent to the box for elbowing with 12:44 to play in the second period, giving the Nittany Lions a chance to extend their lead. They capitalized on that opportunity as Evan Barratt netted his sixth of the season with 12:14 to play in the period. Hurts and Sturtz assisted on the move, leading to a 3-1 lead for Gadowsky and Co.
Derian Hamilton was sent to the box for holding with 10:56 remaining in the period as the game was becoming increasingly chippy. Jobst capitalized on the power play opportunity, firing one into the top shelf 54 seconds into the penalty. The Ohio State power play was certainly heating up.
Yet another penalty call sent Sam Sternschein to the penalty box for tripping with 4:10 to play in the period, but the Nittany Lions were able to kill the penalty without giving up another goal. Penn State skated into the final intermission with a 3-2 lead, but trailing 37-22 in the shots department.
Ohio State’s Laczynski was sent to the box for boarding with 17:37 remaining in the game, but the Penn State power play just didn’t look very strong.
With about 6:20 remaining, Chase Berger saved a certain Ohio State goal off the line to keep his side in front. Ultimately, the game really slowed down in the final period. With 4:13 to play, Ohio State’s Wyatt Ege was sent to the box for hooking on Sucese who was making his way toward goal. Andrew Sturtz made the most of the power play opportunity, scoring his eleventh goal of the season with just 3:31 remaining.
To cap things off, Barratt netted a second goal on an empty net following an Ohio State turnover in the middle of the ice.
Player of the Game
Peyton Jones | Sophomore | Goalie
Peyton Jones put on an absolute clinic throughout the night, saving an eye-opening 45 shots and coming up in immensely important situations.
The Nittany Lions will finish up their series with Ohio State on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The clash will be televised on BTN.