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No. 9 Penn State Men’s Hockey Falls 4-2 At No. 7 Ohio State

No. 9 Penn State men’s hockey (19-10-1 overall, 9-10-1 Big Ten) couldn’t outlast No. 7 Ohio State (17-10-1 overall, 10-8 Big Ten), falling 4-2 at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus Saturday night.

There wasn’t much offense until the third period, with the score being tied 1-1 entering the sequence. Ohio State ultimately prevailed 4-2, completing a series split and an additional regular-season series split for the two teams.

How It Happened

After Penn State’s “identity line” started last night, Guy Gadowsky opted for Tyler Gratton, Connor MacEachern, and Kevin Wall to start in Columbus. Meanwhile, Dylan Gratton and Simon Mack started on defense while Liam Souliere returned as the starting goaltender after taking game one off.

After 10 minutes without much action, Penn State took the first power play of the game as Patrick Guzzo was assessed a two-minute boarding minor. The Nittany Lions were caught off guard on the first play of the one-man advantage, as Liam Souliere denied a two-on-one odd-man rush. Although the Nittany Lions settled in and controlled the puck after nearly giving up a goal, they didn’t score.

With six seconds left on Penn State’s power play, Mack was booked for interference. Ohio State had some good looks on offense, but it didn’t generate much as Penn State picked up the kill.

The clock slowed, but Ohio State kept heating up offensively. Then, Jaedon Leslie sniped a shot past Souliere from near the blue line, giving the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead with 2:44 to go in the first period.

Ohio State continued with momentum, taking shot after shot on Souliere. Its momentum came to a halt for the Buckeyes, however, as Michael Gildon entered the penalty box for high sticking. Shortly after, Mason Lohrei was booked for slashing, giving Penn State a five-on-three advantage to end the period.

The Nittany Lions didn’t score before the period’s conclusion, so Ohio State took a 1-0 lead into the intermission. Penn State was outshot 13-8 in the first period in a rare feat.

Penn State didn’t capitalize on the brief advantage to start the second period. Just eight minutes into the period, Kevin Wall and Michael Gildon took simultaneous roughing penalties, hurting both squads.

The rest opening stretch of the second period wasn’t very eventful, either. Neither team could manage to control the puck for long, as back-and-forth hockey ensued.

Then, at 11:18 in the second period, Tyler Gratton tied the game 1-1. Gratton buried a pass from Paul DeNaples for his sixth goal of the season.

At 19:04 in the period, Jimmy Dowd Jr. took a hooking penalty. The second period ended 1-1 shortly after. Dowd’s penalty was quickly killed in the third period. Through that point, the game had been an affair without much offense. However, the tide quickly changed.

Just over two minutes into in the third period, Ohio State jumped back in front. Davis Burnside capitalized on a rebound right beyond the crease, putting it past Souliere to make it 2-1 in favor of the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes continued controlling the puck, but Souliere continued keeping them at bay with 27 saves midway through the third frame. Souliere’s resilience in goal, though, was about to translate into Penn State success.

Then, about five minutes into the period, Jimmy Dowd Jr. sniped a shot from the blue line to make it 2-2. It was Dowd’s first goal since December 2, coincidentally against the Buckeyes.

Penn State had more good offensive looks, including a turnover forced by Ture Linden that nearly resulted in a goal. However, the score didn’t remain tied for long.

At 15:28 in the third period, Tate Singleton had a redirect that slipped past Souliere. Ohio State made it 3-2 with roughly five minutes to go in regulation.

Souliere was pulled for the extra skater shortly after, and Ohio State capitalized to make it 4-2. That was ultimately the final score, with the two teams splitting the regular season series.

Takeaways

  • Penn State’s first two goals came rather quickly, before opposing goaltender Jakub Dobeš and the Ohio State defense could really get into gear. Dowd’s third-period snipe, in particular, was very effective in that regard. Ultimately, Dobeš concluded the matchup with 32 saves.
  • Both teams possess eerily similar strengths and weaknesses on both sides of the ice. It was a good game all around, and it easily could’ve gone the other way if Penn State had just a couple more lucky bounces. Ohio State ripped off 37 shots, compared to 34 attempts by the Nittany Lions.
  • It would have been nice for the Nittany Lions had they swept, but salvaging a split after last week’s disaster, tonight’s loss isn’t dire. The road-series split should bode well for Guy Gadowsky’s crew in preparation for a pair of dates with No. 1 ranked Minnesota looming.

What’s Next

Penn State has next week off before a crucial home series against No. 1 Minnesota on February 17 and 18. The Nittany Lions will return home to Pegula Ice Arena, with puck drop slated for 6:30 p.m. for both matchups.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland, which means he's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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