Ohio State was outskated, outplayed and overpowered against a high-caliber Penn State team in a 4-3 loss Friday night.
The Buckeyes (8-4-1, 3-2-0-0 Big Ten) won the shot battle but were not able to convert against Penn State (10-2-0, 2-1-0-0 Big Ten) as the Nittany Lions capitalized on critical mistakes by Ohio State.
Redshirt senior goaltender Sean Romeo’s three-game shutout streak came to an end early in the second period. Romeo’s streak ended at 204:27, the longest shutout streak in program history.
Penn State sophomore forward Evan Barratt, the nation’s leading scorer, hit the net with an assist by junior defenseman Kris Myllari. This was the first goal that Romeo had given up since the Buckeyes’ 8-2 loss at home against Bowling Green.
Overall, Romeo allowed four goals and saved a season-high 39 shots.
Senior forward Mason Jobst opened up the scoring earlier in the first period with his fourth power play goal and team-leading eighth goal of the season.
Jobst identified what made the difference for the Buckeyes in a close game like Friday’s game against Penn State.
“We talked about it already in the locker room, but our turnovers, we just gave them too many chances,” Jobst said. “We know they like to get rid of the puck and we just kind of played right into their hands and the style that they like to play.”
Jobst was assisted on his 60th career goal by junior forward Tanner Laczynski and freshman forward Gustaf Westlund.
Penn State scored on the power play to take a 2-1 lead just under 10 minutes into the second period. Junior forward Brandon Biro hit the net and was assisted by Barratt, his second point of the game.
Ohio State led in shots 44-43 but were outskated by Penn State most of the night, with the Nittany Lions getting up the ice and grabbing most of the loose pucks.
“Penn State gets as many shots on net as they want, I’m okay with that,” Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said. “It’s just a matter of us continuing to play the way we need to play and tonight we made too many mistakes.”
Sophomore forward Austin Pooley tied the game midway through the second period on a short-handed goal, the second for Ohio State this season. He was assisted by Jobst who placed the puck right in front of the goal for Pooley, his first goal of the season. Jobst’s assist was his 86th career point in Big Ten games, tied for the most all-time.
Less than a minute after Pooley’s goal, Penn State hit the net again to take a 3-2 lead. Sophomore defenseman Cole Hults snuck it past Romeo with an assist by Biro, his second point of the game.
Senior forward John Wiitala tied the game early in the third period with his second goal of the season.
The penalty kill for Ohio State fell back to Earth after not giving up a power play goal since they played Bowling Green. The Nittany Lions scored on two of their four power play opportunities while the Buckeyes only found the net on one of their four attempts.
The game-winning goal by Penn State was one of its two power play goals, scored with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game. Ohio State had opportunities to score late in the game including a power play, but its comeback attempt fell short.
Ohio State and Penn State will return to the Schottenstein Center at 8 p.m. on Saturday, where the Buckeyes will try and avoid being swept for the first time this season.