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Penn State Hockey Falls To Ohio State 6-3 In First Game Of Series

Penn State hockey (4–7–0, 2-7 Big Ten) couldn’t get the puck past Ohio State’s (4–6–1, 4-5 Big Ten) Tommy Nappier Friday night. The Nittany Lions ended the contest with 43 shots on net and only three goals, dropping the first of a two-game series 6-3.

Jimmy Dowd Jr., Aarne Talvitie, and Evan Bell were the three Nittany Lions able to get the puck past Nappier Friday, but defensive issues continued to hurt the Nittany Lions. Goaltender Oskar Autio struggled to makeup for the mistakes.

How It Happened

The Buckeyes started off the scoring 2:20 into the first period, with Austin Pooley getting the puck past Autio on a breakaway. Three minutes later, Autio made a huge save, blocking Ohio State from upping the deficit.

Back and forth play continued throughout the first half of the period. 8:39 into the period, the Buckeye’s Collin Peters got an awkward shot past Autio, giving Ohio State a two goal lead.

About 11 minutes into the period, the Buckeyes’ Dominic Vidoli received a two minute minor for holding, sending Penn State to the power play. Just over a minute into the power play, Jimmy Dowd Jr. shot the puck into the Buckeye’s goal at 12:36, with some help from alternate captain Aarne Talvitie and Kevin Wall. 

During the second half of the first period, Penn State started putting the offensive pressure on the Buckeyes, but aside from a good shot from captain Alex Limoges, it continued uneventfully, with Ohio leading by one. 

The second period started off with a lot of energy from the Nittany Lions, but 1:30 into the second period a bad turnover in the defensive zone led to Ohio State’s Travis Treloar getting the puck past Autio, widening the deficit and giving Ohio State a two goal lead, making the score 3-1.

4:39 into the second, Penn State went on their second power play of the game due to a hooking call on Ohio’s Layton Ahac. While Connor MacEachern clanked the iron, the puck stayed out of the net, with the power play ending with Penn State unable to get the puck past Ohio’s Tommy Nappier.

Exactly four minutes later at 8:39 into the period, Penn State went on the third power play. It was uneventful, with play going back and forth between the teams. After the power play Penn State put the pressure on Ohio State, sending a flurry of shots at Nappier, none of them getting past the goaltender.

15:50 into the period, Penn State went on its fourth power play of the game due to Ohio being caught with too many men on the ice. Once again, the Buckeyes were able to kill the power play. Just over two minutes after the power play, Talvitie, assisted by Dowd and Wall, shot the puck past Nappier, cutting Ohio’s lead to one. The second period ended with a score of 3-2.

The third period started off with a goal from Ohio’s Quinn Preston at 1:20, which gave the Buckeyes a 4-2 lead. Just under two minutes later, 3:10 into the period, Clayton Phillips was called for hooking, giving Ohio State its first power play of the night. Wasting no time, Treloar scored six seconds into the power play, giving Ohio State a 5-2 lead. 

The rest of the period continued with Penn State unable to get pucks past a confident Nappier. With under two minutes remaining, Evan Bell scored to help Penn State cut the deficit to 5-3. Pulling Autio out of the net for the last minute of play, Ohio State capitalized on the empty net and Pooley scored again to widen the deficit to 6-3 with 20 seconds remaining. 

Takeaways

  • Jimmy Dowd Jr. continues to stand out and prove himself as an asset to the program. Gaining three points tonight (one goal, two assists), Dowd is not just a player who is able to slow down the pace of play, but one who is able to consistently make effective plays. The two-way defenseman has also been having some great chemistry with Talvitie.
  • Goalie struggles continue. While Autio had a strong showing on the January 3 game against Michigan, tonight’s game was an entirely different story. With a .883 save percentage and three wins and four losses in the last seven games (including this one,) Autio isn’t yet a confident choice in between the pipes. For true freshman Soulière, having had a poor night on January 4 and having yet to really establish himself within the program, the Nittany Lions are in a tough spot.
  • Defense continues to plague the Nittany Lions. There were too many defensive mistakes, mainly turnovers, which resulted in Ohio State’s onslaught of goals and puck possession. While defense has appeared strong at times, it isn’t consistent enough as a whole yet.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions will face the Buckeyes again on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. before facing the Spartans at home at Pegula Ice Arena on January 15. The time of puck drop for the game has yet to be determined.

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About the Author

Acacia Aster Broder

Acacia is a junior from Philadelphia majoring in digital and print journalism with a sports certificate. Although she considers herself a Philadelphian at heart, she is a Toronto and Seattle sports fan. Follow her on Twitter @acaciaaster or Instagram @acaciaastr for hockey takes and mediocre analysis.

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