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No. 17 Penn State Hockey Upsets No. 6 Ohio State 5-1 In Big Ten Semifinal

We’ll see you in South Bend for the Big Ten championship game, Hockey Valley.

No. 17 Penn State men’s hockey (22-14-2, 14-13-1 Big Ten) and No. 6 Ohio State (20-10-5, 13-8-4 Big Ten) squared off in the Big Ten semifinal round on Sunday, and the Nittany Lions came away with a 5-1 victory.

Liam Folkes, Alex Limoges, Brandon Biro, and Nate Sucese scored for Guy Gadowsky’s team, which stifled the Ohio State attack throughout the game. The Nittany Lion defense had perhaps its best game of the season in a huge spot — it help set up a meeting with Notre Dame for the Big Ten championship and a spot in the NCAA tournament next weekend.

Peyton Jones made 31 saves in the victory.

How It Happened

Penn State started the game with the first three shots, but Ohio State swung momentum in its favor with seven consecutive shots on Peyton Jones’ goal.

In the least surprising turn of events, Liam Folkes scored the opening goal of today’s contest. Folkes found himself wide open in front of Tommy Nappier’s goal after a pinpoint pass by Alex Limoges, and he undressed the goaltender to score his 18th of the year and give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 advantage.

Penn State’s persistence finally paid off with a buzzer-beater. Alex Limoges stuffed home an Evan Barratt feed to double the lead entering the first intermission. Evan Bell picked up the secondary assist on the play, which was also Limoges’ 50th point of the 2018-19 season.

Ohio State couldn’t get too much going in the first half of the second period, and things went from bad to worse for the Buckeyes when team captain Sasha Larocque was ejected from the game. Larocque leveled Adam Pilewicz in the head and received a five-minute major and game misconduct on the play.

It took the ensuing Penn State power play 4:50 to cash in, but Brandon Biro capped off a pretty passing play to extend his team’s lead to 3-0 midway through the second. Kris Myllari found Biro wide open in front of goal, and Chase Berger picked up the secondary assist on Biro’s 16th goal of the year.

Ohio State’s already-bad afternoon got even worse when Tanner Laczynski appeared to cut his team’s deficit to 3-1. After a lengthy review, however, the referees determined the Buckeyes were offside when entering the zone prior to the goal. Guy Gadowsky’s team took a 3-0 lead and 26-18 advantage in shots entering the second intermission.

Penn State’s third period got off to a perfect start — Nate Sucese snuck a shot through Nappier’s legs, and the Nittany Lions took a four-goal lead less than three minutes after the puck dropped to start the frame.

The remaining 17:38 of the game was relatively quiet, and a late Ohio State consolation goal wasn’t enough to keep Penn State from securing its spot in the Big Ten title game. Nate Sucese’s highlight-reel empty net goal was the icing on the cake of today’s game.

Takeaways

  • It may seem surprising that Penn State, a team known for high producing tons of offense, didn’t have a player reach 50 points in a single season before today. Alex Limoges became the first player in program history to do that with his late goal in the first period.
  • Ohio State couldn’t have really asked for a worse second period, huh. Sasha Larocque — the Buckeyes’ captain and best defenseman — was ejected for a high hit on Adam Pilewicz, and a momentum-turning goal by Tanner Laczynski was washed out by an offside call. Oof.
  • This may have been Penn State’s most complete effort of the season. Shutting down the Big Ten’s regular season champion on the road is an impressive accomplishment, especially considering the Nittany Lions’ well-documented defensive struggles. It’s safe to say this team is firing on all cylinders, and the play of Peyton Jones and the defense is a huge reason why.

What’s Next

Penn State and Notre Dame will play for the Big Ten championship next weekend in South Bend. The game will be played at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 23.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

Mikey is a junior majoring in journalism and Onward State's Sports Editor. He grew up in Bedminster, NJ and is way too obnoxious about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is hard. If you're dying to see more hockey/golf content on your timeline, you can follow Mikey on Twitter @mikey_mandarino. Send all hate mail, death threats, and your vote for the best chicken parm in State College to [email protected]

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