Penn State Men’s Hockey Big Ten Tournament vs. Ohio State Preview

Story posted March 4, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Maclain Young

After surprisingly sitting atop the Big Ten standings a few weeks ago, the Ohio State Buckeyes are on a four-game losing streak. They are 21-11-2 on the season and 13-9-2-1-1-1 in the Big Ten, good enough for fourth in the conference.

They play host to a Penn State team that’s lost six of its last seven, including a 6-0 loss to Ohio State at Pegula Ice Arena. The blue and white is 15-18-1 overall and 6-17-1-1-1-1 in the conference.

The Nittany Lions lost their final regular season game against Michigan State, allowing the Spartans to break a 13-game losing streak.

Liam Souliere started both games at Michigan State marking the first time a Penn State goalie started both games in a series since Oskar Autio started both games at Ann Arbor nearly two months ago.

Souliere had a solid Game 1 in which the Nittany Lions mounted a comeback victory on the road. However, Saturday’s game was a different story.

Souliere and the rest of his team had a brutal start to the first period of the contest highlighted by two Michigan State goals.

Both goals were poor from Souliere with the first coming from a big rebound he put out into the slot and the other shot coming from near the goalline with less than 10 seconds to play in the frame.

He played well the rest of the contest, but Penn State ultimately fell 2-1.

Now Souliere has been named as the starter for Game 1 against Ohio State under the spotlight of the Big Ten Tournament.

Despite their recent struggles, the Buckeyes have been the surprise of the Big Ten this season.

They were led by an inspiring group of freshmen including star goaltender Jakub Dobes and forward Georgii Merkulov.

Merkulov leads the team in points with 32 and Dobes has outstanding numbers in goal with a 2.217 goals against average, .933 save percentage and 20 wins on the season.

Dobes is one of 11 semifinalists for the Mike Richter Award for best goalie in the country.

However, the Buckeyes are looking for a veteran presence to return to the lineup and right the ship for the Big Ten Tournament.

Senior forward Jake Wise is third on the Buckeyes in points and second in goals. He has been battling injury recently.

This season the Buckeyes are 3-0-1 against the Nittany Lions, winning both matchups at home and dropping one game on the road in the shootout.

Ohio State outscored Penn State 17-5 throughout the four games, including a 6-0 thrashing in the most recent matchup.

Dobes earned Big Ten First Star of the Week after the series at Penn State, recording 97 saves on 99 shots.

The Buckeyes have certainly been carried by their young talent this season, but the postseason is a different animal.

A series against Penn State might be just what the Buckeyes need as the Nittany Lions are also a young squad.

Knocking off the Nittany Lions can give the Buckeyes the experience needed to make a deep run in the tournament.

If Dobes continues his strong play against the Nittany Lions, Ohio State should cruise to a sweep. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to expect the freshman goaltender to stumble just a bit and the series to need a third game.

Either way Ohio State is a talented team that should be able to handle Penn State at home like earlier in the season.

Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email