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No. 9 Penn State Hockey Ties No. 13 Ohio State 2-2, Drops Extra Big Ten Point In Shootout

No. 9 Penn State hockey (17-9-3, 9-7-3 Big Ten) opened its crucial series against No. 13 Ohio State (16-9-3, 9-7-3-1 Big Ten) with a 2-2 tie/shootout loss in Columbus on Friday night.

Penn State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, but goals from Ohio State in the second and third periods forced overtime. Evan Barratt and Cole Hults got the goals for the Nittany Lions, and Sam McCormick’s second-round shootout goal put the Buckeyes on top of the Big Ten’s standings.

Peyton Jones made 33 saves in the tie/shootout loss.

How It Happened

Evan Barratt got the Nittany Lions off to an ideal start to Friday’s game. He followed up a Liam Folkes breakaway by batting the puck into the net out of midair to give Penn State a 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the first period. Folkes and Alex Limoges got the assists on Barratt’s 10th of the year, which was about as pretty as they come in college hockey.

Tanner Laczynski — perhaps one of the nation’s best forwards — took a hooking penalty after hauling down Brandon Biro midway through the frame, and Penn State’s power play made Ohio State pay nearly instantly. Cole Hults fired a wrist shot past Tommy Nappier to give the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead seven seconds after Laczynski’s minor penalty.

Denis Smirnov and Nate Sucese notched the assists on Hults’ sixth of the year and 25th point — a mark that leads all Big Ten defensemen in 2019-20.

Penn State entered the first intermission up by a pair of goals, but not before a strong Ohio State push forced Peyton Jones into action. The senior netminder finished the period with 17 saves — including a few beauties on grade-A chances.

Ohio State managed to pull a goal back a little more than five minutes into the middle frame. Jaedon Leslie pounced on a subpar clearance by Penn State and knifed through the offensive zone before beating Jones with a wrister from the high slot to halve Penn State’s lead with 14:45 left in the second period.

The remainder of the middle frame was more balanced and flew by without another goal, so Penn State entered the final period with a 2-1 lead to work with. Despite the score, Ohio State led 25-17 in shots on goal through 40 minutes of play.

Ohio State’s comeback bid got off to an ideal start in the third period. Gordi Myer’s wrist shot from the slot picked out the bottom corner of Jones’ goal to tie this game at 2-2 with 18:02 left in the third period.

The Buckeyes continued to control the pace of play in the third period as Penn State failed to get much of anything going. The Nittany Lions were sloppy in their own end and consistently iced the puck just to try and weather the storm of chances on Peyton Jones’ goal. Jones was spectacular and kept things knotted up at 2-2 throughout.

Penn State pushed back well to generate a handful of good chances before the end of the third period, but it wasn’t enough to steal a late winner. The two teams went to overtime tied at 2-2, and the initial five-minute overtime period didn’t find a winner.

Nikita Pavlychev took a five-minute major for grabbing the facemask late in overtime, and Carson Meyer took a two-minute minor for slashing in the same scrum. Penn State got the best scoring chances throughout the overtime period, but none of them found a way past Tommy Nappier.

Sam McCormick scored in the shootout to give his team the extra Big Ten point. The Buckeyes took sole possession of first place in the conference standings thanks to McCormick’s goal.

Takeaways

  • Man, the Nittany Lions’ third period response to Ohio State’s push in the middle stanza was nothing short of brutal. The Buckeyes took complete control of the game as it seemed like Guy Gadowsky’s team could barely string a pass together. Penn State tried to keep pushing, but it was just too sloppy to get anything substantial going until the dying minutes of the frame.
  • Penn State’s power play was 0-for-10 in its last four games prior to Friday, but Cole Hults made quick work of getting the team’s man-advantage back on track. He scored seven seconds into the Nittany Lions’ first power play opportunity of the game, and the defenseman’s sixth goal of the year could give Penn State’s special teams a much-needed jolt.
  • This is the fourth consecutive week in which Penn State has played an overtime game and the second straight week with a shootout. Guy Gadowsky’s team has won just one of those contests — a 2-1 decision against Michigan State — and lost the other three in either the shootout or 3-on-3 overtime.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes will close this weekend’s series beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, February 8 back at Value City Arena in Columbus.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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