Men’s Hockey Fails To Capitalize On Momentum In 5-1 Loss, Splits Ohio State Series
Ohio State’s season started off rough, but through defeating Boston College, Cornell, and Michigan it proved worthy adversary. Considering Penn State hadn’t played a game on another team’s home ice since November 22 in Alaska, it felt the Roar Zone’s absence hard. The perfect storm set Penn State up for a game of ‘almost’s, and a game that could’ve been a tie ended in a 5-1 loss.
How It Happened
Penn State let in its earliest allowed goal since November 22, a top-shelf Ohio State cannon that just beat McAdam’s glove 3:30 into the game. A discouraging start gave way to real effort, as the teams muscled for control and McAdam’s glove managed to keep the rest of Ohio State’s first period chances out. David Goodwin took advantage of a careless Ohio State via giveaway, but Frey denied Penn State’s best chance of the game. The first period was relatively even for both teams in terms of possession and defense, but the Nittany Lions had trouble turning chances into goals. Penn State led 16-12 in shots, relying on rebounds that just weren’t hitting the back of the net. Ohio State led 1-0 at the end of the first.
It seemed the Nittany Lions needed a fresh start, and the second period provided that platform. Penn State picked up the pace, but still failed to tally a goal in the beginning of the period. Mendelson just missed a shot here, Saar went wide there, and Ohio State goalie Christian Frey was on point every time. Penn State went on the first powerplay of the game with the chance to use some growing momentum. The opposite happened, when McAdam let in a shorthanded goal off a turnover with 8:27 left in the second. The chances kept coming with frustratingly low payoff, and Ohio State finally capitalized on Penn State defensemen not even knowing where the puck was. A rebound goal put the Buckeyes up 3-0 with 3:27 left in the second. It could have easily been a tied game, but ever since the turnover turned into a shorthanded goal, Penn State lost control.
Morale was low, but the recently-hot Eric Scheid fired one at the post and it bounced off of Frey into his net early in the final period, making it 3-1 Ohio State. A game misconduct on the Buckeyes’ Healey gifted the Nittany Lions with a five-minute power play and a chance to inch closer towards a lead. Much like earlier in the game, Penn State simply could not set itself up for success. Most of the man-advantage was spent preventing another shorthanded goal. Ohio State managed to kill off the best late-game rally opportunity, and went on a power play of its own to put the game away. A backhanded comeback crusher stretched the lead 4-1 with 6:50 left in regulation. Penn State called a timeout and Gadowsky decided to bench goalie McAdam. Ohio State immediately capitalized on the empty net, finalizing the score 5-1 in Ohio State’s favor.
Player Of The Game
Ohio State goalie Christian Frey turned a game of ‘almost’s into a game of ‘no’s. Paired with Ohio State’s neutral zone prowess, he was almost unstoppable.
Penn State kicks off the highly-anticipated Michigan series on Thursday, January 28 in Pegula.