The No. 4 Ohio State men’s hockey team (13-5-4, 6-3-3 Big Ten) is set to play against No. 13 Penn State (13-7-2, 5-6-1 Big Ten) after a split series against rival Michigan.
Ohio State is currently ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten, with Penn State at No. 4.
The Nittany Lions are ranked No. 1 in goals, boasting 107 this season while allowing 81 goals. Ohio State, meanwhile, has scored 67 goals and allowed 48.
Penn State has scored 20 goals more than any team in the NCAA, and averages nearly a goal more than any team in the country.
Ohio State already has had experience with Penn State this year, splitting an earlier series against the Nittany Lions.
Ohio State junior forward Tanner Laczynski said he knows what to expect from Penn State’s team.
“I think they’ve played the same the last couple of years,” Laczynski said. “They like to get a lot of pucks at the net. They’re a very offensive-minded team.”
Penn State is led by three scorers who all rank in the top 10 in points in the NCAA.
Sophomore forwards Alex Limoges and Evan Barratt are tied for No. 2 in the country with 30 points, and junior forward Brandon Biro is tied for No. 8 with 26.
Barratt’s 13 goals is tied for the fourth-most in the NCAA.
Ohio State senior defenseman Tommy Parran said his team won’t change its mindset to match such an aggressive opponent.
“I think it’s just staying true to our training and what we practice every day,” he said. “They are pretty prolific in terms of their goal-scoring and their abilities and they’ve got some great forwards. We definitely know what we’re handling but it’s good to be cognitive of what they’re bringing.”
So far this season, Ohio State has had bad history with Friday games, but it has been able to mount comebacks and win on Saturday nights.
The Buckeyes haven’t lost two games in a row yet this season. Head coach Steve Rohlik said he believes this happens from extra motivation on the second night.
“Desperation,” he said. “When you’re desperate and get beat or don’t play as well on Friday you usually are going to get a better hockey team on Saturday. We talked about it this week already. We’ve got to play desperate on Friday.”
The Buckeyes match up against Penn State at University Park, Pennsylvania, at 7 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday.