Men’s Hockey Comes Back To Defeat Ohio State 3-2 In Overtime
No. 14 Penn State men’s hockey (16-4-3) traveled to Columbus for a meeting with conference rival Ohio State (6-12-2), in an effort to clinch its sixth Big Ten win. The contest was a nail-biter to the very end, prompting an exciting overtime chapter. Two freshmen new to the spotlight helped the Nittany Lions climb back into the contest and successfully pull off a comeback bid, winning 3-2 in overtime.
How It Happened
In the opening five minutes, hard-hitting and fast-paced rushes swung both teams back-and-forth between defensive zones, making way for a promising snipe from Matt Mendelson that ricocheted off the Ohio State post. The first important whistle prompted a tripping penalty against Kenny Brooks, sending the Buckeyes on the power play.
This disadvantage only fueled forward Andrew Sturtz as he drove a short-handed rocket past the Ohio State net-minder’s shoulder, finding the top-shelf. The assist went to David Thompson, and the Lions took a 1-0 lead. This marked the 10th short-handed goal of the 2015-16 season and the 12th goal on the season for Sturtz. Less than a minute later, Josh Healey tied the game up at one apiece with a rebound goal on the power play — just the 11th power play goal scored against the Nittany Lions all season, and the fourth since Nov 7.
The second period was quiet scoring-wise. Just like the first, penalties served as the catalyst for energy as Chase Berger notched his first of the season for tripping. Penn State’s special teams line remained solid once again as the Lions returned to full strength. Once the penalty was killed, the Nittany Lions immediately swarmed Buckeye’ goalie Christian Frey, but couldn’t record the go-ahead goal. After a violent collision, Curtis Loik drew a cross-checking penality against Ohio State’s Craig Dalrymple, and the Lions gained their first power play opportunity of the night. Kenny Brooks erased the advantage quickly with a chippy interference call.
Perfect combination passing by Kerr and Scheid allowed Dylan Richard to attempt a nifty wrap-around, but the attempt didn’t fool Frey. After a long stretch of conservative gameplay, and a flurry of impressive saves by Matthew Skoff, Ohio State’s Nick Schilkey finally ripped a shot from the left point that found the back of Penn State’s cage to give his team the 2-1 advantage. The lamp lit only once in the second period, ending with a 2-1 Buckeye lead.
As the puck dropped at the start of the third period, The Nittany Lions were poised for a comeback. Unfortunately for Gadowsky’s unit, Penn State failed to win any games in which it trailed at the start of the final frame this season. To no surprise, a Penn State penalty kicked things off, and Kevin Kerr found himself in the box for interference. This gave Ohio State its fourth power play chance of the game, but smart play by Andrew Sturtz stopped the Buckeyes’ man-advantage as he drew an interference call on Dalrymple.
The Penn State power play was once again short-lived after Vince Pedrie hooked a Buckeye trying to net a short-handed chance. 4-on-4 hockey commenced, and chunk of time lapsed while both teams traded penalties. After Pedrie’s hook, Miguel Fidler laid a huge hit on a Penn State player and landed himself in the box for a minor contact to the head call with 10 minutes left to play in the period.
On the man-advantage, the Nittany Lions’ special teams fell short on another opportunity to score and went 0-3 on the night. To make matters worse, Christian Frey acted as a brick wall every time Penn State flashed some pressure in the Buckeyes zone. However, shots drifted back in the Lions’ favor 11-7, but the clock loomed a short 4:34 left to play.
The comeback was completed when freshman defenseman Kevin Kerr recorded his first goal as a Nittany Lion 15 seconds later, with the help of Richard and Scheid. Penn State finally tied the game back up at 2-2 with less than five minutes of gameplay left — a familiar overtime theme returned for its third straight Friday night game.
Hockey Valley has a knack for winning post-regulation, and Friday’s game honored that tradition. After a Alec Marsh’s month-long dry spell without a goal, the freshman hammered a beautiful shot into the back of the Ohio State net and earned the Nittany Lions sixth consecutive Big Ten conference win, 3-2.
Player Of The Game
Kevin Kerr | Defenseman | Freshman
Though Alec Marsh netted the game-winner, Kerr was the sole reason Penn State had the chance to battle back in OT. With the sweet goal from the slot, the freshman recorded his first career goal as a Nittany Lion at the perfect time.
— Penn State Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) January 23, 2016
The Nittany Lions return to Value City Arena in Columbus for the second stint in their two-game series with Ohio State Saturday, January 23 at 7 p.m.
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