The Ohio State men’s ice hockey team went to Happy Valley this weekend for a two-game series, but it is heading home feeling nothing more than content after an up-and-down weekend.
The Buckeyes were thoroughly defeated on Friday, losing 6-1, but they were able to recover the following day, taking care of the Nittany Lions 7-4.
In Game 1, the Nittany Lions struck first after junior forward David Goodwin dispossessed the Buckeye defense behind the goal and laid off the puck for senior forward David Glenn, who fired it behind junior netminder Christian Frey.
The first period was quite physical, as both teams were handed penalties. At two points, the teams played four-on-four hockey.
Penn State junior goaltender Eamon McAdam demonstrated why he leads the Big Ten in save percentage, stopping a flurry of shots from sophomore forward Luke Stork and senior forward Anthony Greco.
The Buckeyes appeared to be knocking on the door after a strong finish to the first period. That, however, would not be the case, as Penn State illustrated why it has the nation’s fifth-ranked offense.
Penn State would double its lead with a long shot from freshman defenseman Vince Pedrie. Redshirt senior forward Eric Scheid brought the puck up the right side of the rink and completed a cross-ice pass, which Pedrie collected and converted.
Goodwin made it 3-0 with just over six and a half minutes left in the period after some nifty build-up play with freshman forward Andrew Sturtz.
This forced OSU coach Steve Rohlik to make a switch inside the pipes. He replaced Frey with junior goalie Matt Tomkins, marking Tomkins’ first appearance in seven games.
The substitution would not make any difference.
Just three minutes later, Penn State senior defenseman Luke Juha made it 4-0. The nightmare continued for the Buckeyes just over a minute later when freshman forward Alec Marsh pushed the puck under Tomkins’ right skate, making it 5-0.
Junior forward and co-captain Nick Schilkey broke McAdam’s shutout with a power-play goal just over two minutes into the third period.
The goal, however, did little to turn the tide, as Penn State coasted to the victory.
Junior forward Zach Saar took advantage of an empty net with less than 30 seconds remaining, ending the match 6-1.
Tomkins would remain in goal for the Scarlet and Gray for Game 2 on Saturday. Senior goaltender Matthew Skoff took over for McAdam in the Nittany Lions’ goal.
It became quite clear early on that the Buckeyes were not going to allow a repeat of the previous night’s performance.
Just a minute and a half into the first period, Schilkey laid the puck off to junior forward David Gust, who converted for the power-play score. It was Gust’s 17th point in 17 games, although his 15-game point streak ended the night before.
The Buckeyes doubled their lead just six minutes later after freshman defenseman Tommy Parran netted his first career goal for the Buckeyes. Another freshman, forward Freddy Gerard, made it 3-0 for the Buckeyes less than halfway through the period.
With just over two minutes remaining in the period, Penn State got on the board.
Scheid centered a pass for freshman forward Chase Berger, whose shot was deflected in by Tomkins. Sturtz cut the lead to one goal just past the halfway point in the second period after a great solo effort from the Penn State defensive zone.
Emotions began to run high after a few altercations between the two sides. One conflict behind the Buckeyes’ net resulted in junior defenseman Drew Brevig and junior forward Ricky DeRosa being sent to the box, resulting in some four-on-four hockey similar to the night before.
An interference call on Parran resulted in a four-on-three advantage for the Nittany Lions, and they would swiftly take advantage with an equalizing goal from Goodwin. Penn State would then grab its first lead of the afternoon when Kevin Kerr fired a shot from long range above Tomkins’ glove just under three minutes into the third period.
The Buckeyes finally responded after Penn State’s four straight goals, courtesy of sophomore forward Matthew Weis’ eighth goal of the season. Then, just 42 seconds later, a shot from senior defenseman and co-captain Craig Dalrymple trickled underneath Skoff, which left freshman forward John Wiitala with an easy empty-net goal to put the Buckeyes back in front 5-4.
Weis would grab his second goal of the game after a two-on-one breakaway and doubled the Buckeyes’ lead with just over five minutes remaining in the encounter.
Senior forward and Co-captain Anthony Greco put the game to rest with just under 30 seconds left with an empty-net score, ending the match at 7-4.
OSU is set to get back in action on Friday against Wisconsin at the Schottenstein Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.