The Ohio State men’s hockey team will look to recover from Sunday’s loss to Michigan against the No. 14 Penn State Nittany Lions when the teams face off in back-to-back matches at the Schottenstein Center over the weekend.
The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.
The Buckeyes (6-12-2, 1-3-2) and Penn State (15-4-3, 5-1-0) are meeting for the first time this season. Last time out a season ago, the Scarlet and Gray took down Guy Gadowsky’s men by a score of 3-1 in Detroit at Joe Louis Arena, ending Penn State’s season in the Big Ten tournament.
Penn State finished off a two-game sweep of Wisconsin last Saturday. Junior forward David Goodwin is likely to keep the Buckeyes’ defense on its toes as he leads the Nittany Lions in points with 21, including 15 assists.
Penn State is one of the nation’s leaders in shots on goal with 981, and it is also quite efficient at putting it in the net — the Nittany Lions have 13 players with at least 12 points this season, and each player who has made more than one appearance on the year has at least one point.
“Penn State, I mean, you can see what they do. They’re as good as anybody, compete as hard as anybody,” OSU coach Steve Rohlik said. “They’re shooting pucks from the bus and they’re going on the net. We’ve just got to be disciplined, we’ve got to be good defensively and take advantage of our chances.”
OSU will be looking for its breakout freshman forward, Mason Jobst, to continue his high-flying performances. Jobst was named the Big Ten’s third star of the week on Tuesday in recognition of his performances last weekend against Michigan.
Jobst has a career-high four points in Friday’s encounter in Columbus, and followed it up with three points in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He assisted senior forward Anthony Greco off a faceoff in Game 1 at the Schottenstein Center for the tying goal with 6.7 seconds left in regulation.
Even after the breakout weekend, however, the freshman said he already has his mind set on Friday’s match with the Nittany Lions.
“(Michigan and Penn State) are totally two different styles,” Jobst said. “A few adjustments have been made in practice but not a whole lot. Just mainly focus on what we’ve got to do and just pay attention to their tendencies and just keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
The seven points extended Jobst’s point streak to six games, and he has three goals and 11 assists for 14 points in the stretch. He is second among Big Ten rookies with 19 points, from five goals and 14 assists this season, and is seventh in the NCAA among rookies with 1.00 points per game.
“He’s always brought that energy this year,” Rohlik said. “Somehow right now he’s finding the back of the net and making some plays. He’s certainly an energy guy, he’s going to continue to bring that, but that’s what the expectations are, and he would tell you that.”
“Next man standing”
After the final whistle on Sunday at Yost Ice Arena, the bad blood between OSU and Michigan boiled over, and multiple players on both sides were involved in an on-ice clash. On Tuesday, the Big Ten announced a series of suspensions as a result of the altercation.
Two freshmen forwards, Dakota Joshua and Brendon Kearney, were issued major penalties and received one-game disqualifications. Joshua received his penalty for facemasking, while Kearney received his for fighting.
“Well, we’re going to have a lot of guys step up. Those two guys will be out, Kearney and Dakota,” Rohlik said. “I mean, next man standing, we got to have two more guys step up and be good teammates for us.”
The players, such as senior defenseman and co-captain Craig Dalrymple, said they believe whoever on the roster is asked to fill the void will do so to the best of his ability.
“Pretty much a ‘next man up’ mentality. Things happen at the end of the game. It was kind of interesting, but to see two guys get suspended, you never like to see that,” Dalrymple said. “Everyone will just step up, and whoever’s name is called to play will play, and we’re excited for Friday.”
Joshua scored the shootout-winning goal in Friday’s game against the Wolverines, and the Buckeyes’ first goal in Sunday’s match.
OSU is set to play the second of its three-weekend homestand on Jan. 29 and 30 against Michigan State. The puck is scheduled to drop at 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, at the Schottenstein Center.