Penn State gets major road victory in game one against Ohio State
Another day, another nail-biter for Penn State hockey.
The Nittany Lions got back in the win column Friday night defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes 4-3.
In a crucial battle for sole possession of second place in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions delivered an exciting back-and-forth hockey game.
Physicality was at the forefront throughout as the officials on hand allowed both teams to play rough even briefly after whistles.
Despite three periods of physical, edgy play, Penn State only had six penalty minutes. The Nittany Lions did a nice job of toeing the line between a positive, aggressive style of play and being undisciplined.
Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky was happy with the team’s physical play.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of playing between whistles,” Gadowsky said, “It’s physical, it’s Big Ten hockey you know that’s gonna come, but I don’t think we got out of our game.”
Penn State used their gritty play to carry the lead for most of the contest. The Nittany Lions never trailed, but they were tied late in the third period.
It was the heroics of Kevin Wall that secured the regulation victory and crucial three points. The senior forward scored two goals on the evening, including a long-ranged wrister to win the game with 2:20 remaining in the contest.
“He was skating, he was backchecking, he was getting pucks deep when he should. He just played an excellent all-around game and he got rewarded,” Gadowsky said of Wall.
The Nittany Lions have been dealing with a lot of key injuries over the last couple of weeks.
Ryan Kirwan hasn’t played in 2023 yet, Ben Schoen was recently ruled out for the season and Connor McMenamin missed his first game of the season against Ohio State Friday night.
Wall’s electrifying performance gave Penn State a major boost in a position it's feeling thin in.
Connor MacEachern also had a big night matching Wall with his own pair of goals.
One final major storyline came between the pipes for Penn State. Noah Grannan started just his third career game for the Nittany Lions.
The freshman netminder had an impressive 32 saves on 35 Buckeye shots en route to his most impressive victory.
Coach Gadowsky praised the young goaltender after the win.
“Every time he’s been in he’s played well and we were really waiting to get a good chance to get him in,” Gadowsky said.
Grannan got some action last weekend against Michigan when he came in for Liam Souliere in relief. Grannan’s last start came back in October against St. Thomas, a 3-2 overtime victory.
It will be interesting to see if Gadowsky starts Grannan again after his solid performance or goes back to the reliable Souliere to get the sweep against the Buckeyes.
The Nittany Lions have not swept a series since a home-and-home with RIT to end 2022. They have not won both games in a Big Ten series since the end of October at Wisconsin.
Penn State will conclude its final road series of the regular series against the Buckeyes at Value City Arena at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday night.
Maclain Young is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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