The Penn State (9-7-2, 4-4-1-1 Big Ten) men’s hockey team dominated No. 11 Ohio State (8-4-4, 3-4-1-0 Big Ten) from start to finish in a 4-0 in-conference beat down on Saturday.
The Nittany Lions scored two goals in the second period, much like in the previous night’s 5-5 tie. But this time, Penn State controlled the pace in the third and doubled its lead by the time the final second ticked off the clock.
The Buckeyes looked consistently slower to the puck for the entire game and, as junior forward Mason Jobst said, it had a lot to do with the inability to get things going in the third period, where Ohio State has dominated much of this season.
“We never got that goal or that momentum that we did last night,” Jobst said.
The first period ended in a scoreless tie, with neither team earning any strong chances throughout the frame. Ohio State led 8-5 in shots through 20 minutes.
The second period nearly mirrored the second period from the first game of the series, with Penn State scoring two to take a two-goal lead heading into the third period.
The first came off the stick of junior forward Andrew Sturtz while the Nittany Lions were shorthanded. Sturtz toe-dragged through the slot and found space to send a wrist over redshirt junior goalie Sean Romeo’s shoulder.
Sophomore forward Denis Smirnov scored the second in the period on a power-play goal that beat Romeo in a similar area over his left shoulder. The goal was Smirnov’s first since he returned from an undisclosed illness, causing the star forward to miss eight games.
Penn State continued to extend its lead in the third period with a goal from junior forward Brandon Biro off a pass from the point by senior defenseman Trevor Hamilton.
The Nittany Lions concluded their dominant performance with a snap shot by sophomore forward Liam Folkes to gain the commanding 4-0 lead late in the third period.
“We just didn’t have it tonight, it was one of those nights,” head coach Steve Rohlik said. “For whatever reason we didn’t have the fire.”
This is the first time Ohio State has been shut out all season. It was also the first shutout for Penn State sophomore goalie Peyton Jones who made 33 saves. Romeo had a much less efficient night, making only 32 saves on 36 shots.
When asked why Ohio State couldn’t score, junior forward Mason Jobst gave a laundry list of problems.
“I think we played on the perimeter tonight, we didn’t convert on the power play,” he said. “We didn’t get any traffic in front, we made it pretty easy for Peyton Jones to see the puck, he’s a big boy, and I think for big goalies like that you have to take his eyes away and get bodies in front, and we just didn’t do that tonight.”
The Buckeyes have another home series next weekend against No. 7 Minnesota. Puck drop is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday and 8:00 p.m. Saturday.