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No. 6 Penn State Men’s Hockey Struggles On Power Play In 4-3 Loss To No. 17 Ohio State

No. 6 Penn State men’s hockey (14-4 overall, 6-4 Big Ten) dropped the second game of the weekend series against No. 17 Ohio State (10-7-1 overall, 5-5 Big Ten) by a score of 4-3.

Despite heavily outshooting the Buckeyes for the entire game, the Nittany Lions were unable to complete the sweep as Ohio State blue-liners Cole McWard and Mason Lohrei both registered two points in the Buckeyes win.

How It Happened

There was no surprise in net for either team as Liam Souliere and Jakub Dobes got the start for their respective teams since both played very well in the first game of the series.

Penn State was gifted an early power play opportunity, but it lasted just six seconds. Sophomore Cam Thiesing was sent to the box for interference but a slashing penalty by Christian Berger cut the man advantage short.

Just 2:26 into the first period, the Nittany Lions scored a shorthanded goal to grab the early lead. Kevin Wall took a great lead pass from Ben Schoen and roofed it over the left shoulder of Dobes for his eighth goal of the season.

Buckeyes captain Jake Wise scored just 25 seconds later to tie the game at 1-1. Junior winger Michael Gildon got credit for the lone assist on the goal, his seventh assist of the season.

Penn State had a great scoring chance and an opportunity to re-take the lead, but Dobes robbed Christian Sarlo from right in front of the net with an unbelievable glove save. Just seconds later, on the other end of the ice, Ohio State scored its second consecutive goal to take a 2-1 lead. Senior Jaedon Leslie beat Souliere’s blocker side for his third of the season.

The Nittany Lions were given an opportunity to respond thanks to an elbowing penalty committed by Cam Thiesing. The officials reviewed the hit for a potential five-minute major and a game misconduct, but it was ruled as a minor penalty following the review. Ohio State killed the penalty, sending the game back to even-strength hockey with just over 11 minutes remaining.

Ohio State’s discipline issues continued as Joe Dunlap was sent to the box for interference but once again the power play for Penn State was cut short due to a penalty on the Nittany Lions. Ben Schoen was called for interference off of the faceoff. The extra room on the ice created a breakaway opportunity for the Buckeyes but Souliere made two excellent saves to keep the deficit at one. The 4-on-4 time once proved to be beneficial for Penn State as Jimmy Dowd Jr. made a terrific play to cycle behind the net and find the open man for the game-tying goal. Danny Dzhaniyev fired the shot past Dobes who was out of position due to the play by Dowd Jr.

Despite getting the equalizer, Ohio State got the momentum right back as Tate Singleton beat Souliere for his third of the season. Both defensemen on the ice at the time for Ohio State, Cole McWard and Mason Lohrei were credited with the assists.

Penn State was gifted another power play opportunity, its fourth of the first period as forward Matt Cassidy was sent to the box for charging. The officials reviewed the play for a major penalty, but the call stood as a two-minute minor penalty for charging. Ohio State’s strong penalty kill continued as it killed the first 1:55 of the penalty off before the horn sounded on the first period.

After one period of play, Ohio State let the Nittany Lions 3-2 despite being outshot 19-10.

With the end of the first period came the annual Teddy Bear Toss.

The Buckeyes dominated the time of possession early on in the second and they were rewarded for it. Joe Dunlap tipped home his fourth of the season off of a beautiful feed from Patrick Guzzo.

Ohio State’s goal at the 4:14 mark of the second period marked the only significant action in the first half of the period. No other goals were scored and no penalties were committed by either team until Connor MacEachern was sent to the box for two minutes for high-sticking.

The horn sounded on a very uneventful period with Ohio State leading Penn State 4-2 despite being heavily outshot. The Buckeyes opened the final period with 54 seconds of power play time.

Penn State killed the time off the remaining penalty and immediately went to work in the offensive zone. It took some time but just over six minutes into the third period, Ture Linden netted the loose puck past Dobes for his fifth of the season to make it a 4-3 game.

A scrum after the whistle sent Dalton Messina to the box, giving Penn State the power play with 1:04 remaining. Ohio State held on and killed the penalty, ending the game.

The Nittany Lions had a good number of quality scoring chances down the stretch in the third but they were unable to get the equalizer as the Buckeyes held on, beating Penn State 4-3 despite being outshot by 17.

Takeaways

  • Goaltending played a huge factor in the outcome of Saturday’s game. After dominating the Buckeyes in game one of the series, Liam Souliere struggled big time in Penn State’s 4-3 loss. The Ontario native, who has had a very strong season thus far, stopped just 20 of Ohio State’s 24 shots on goal.
  • Special teams play once again hurt Penn State and proved to be a deciding factor in its most recent loss. Despite finding the back of the net while shorthanded for a brief period of time in the first period, the Nittany Lions went 0-for-5 on the man advantage. Ohio State gave Penn State plenty of opportunities to claw its way back into the game, but the Nittany Lions failed to capitalize.
  • This is now the fourth time this season that Penn State has failed to win game two after winning the first game of the series. The Nittany Lions now hold an underwhelming 5-4 record in the second game of the series with all four losses coming in Big Ten play.

What’s Next?

Penn State will travel to South Bend to take on Notre Dame for a two-game series beginning on Friday, December 9. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

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About the Author

Devon Craley

Devon is a junior studying sports journalism. He has the genuine misfortune of being a Philadelphia sports fan...IYKYK. Send your hot takes and preferably your freezing cold takes on Twitter to @devon3134. Devon is also your friendly, neighborhood State College movie nerd.

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