Penn State Stays Alive In Big Ten Tournament With Overtime Win Over Ohio State
Bend, but don’t break.
That’s exactly what Penn State did with its back against the wall in a best-of-three Big Ten Quarterfinal against Ohio State.
The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes were stuck at a 0-0 stalemate for all but the final three minutes and 57 seconds of regulation in an eventual 2-1 Penn State overtime victory.
For the fourth time this season, the scarlet and gray outshot the blue and white, something that seemingly only the Buckeyes have been able to do consistently. Despite outshooting Penn State 56-32, the Buckeyes only cashed in on one attempt.
That one attempt came moments after Penn State took a lead on a Ryan Kirwan goal off of a perfectly placed centering-pass from Xander Lamppa. For Kirwan, whose production Penn State missed for nearly one-and-a-half months, it was his seventh and possibly most important goal of the season.
Kirwan’s goal put the Nittany Lions ahead for two minutes and 23 seconds, until the aforementioned one attempt by the Buckeyes lit the lamp. Joe Dunlap took a pass from Tyler Duke and snuck it into the top right corner of Liam Souliere’s net.
It was a familiar sight for the Nittany Lions as blown leads plagued the team in the second half of the regular season, but tonight they would not let them get the best of them in large part due to Souliere.
After the 46th shot of the night went sneaking by him, the Penn State netminder bounced back to finish the game with ten consecutive saves following the Dunlap goal. The Ontario native finished the game with 55-saves surpassing his career-high of 40 saves and the program record of 52 stops.
Part of the 55-save performance and stretch of 10-straight saves to finish the game was a one-on-one chance following a defensive zone turnover by Christian Berger. Patrick Guzzo picked up the turnover, but it was Souliere giving it his all to keep the Buckeyes at bay.
That shot was the final one of regulation, though the Buckeyes forced Souliere to make nine saves in overtime, which he did so successfully.
While it was the sure-handed goaltender of the Nittany Lions on one end of the ice, Ohio State’s Jakub Dobes was shutting down the few and far between opportunities of Penn State. Dobes stopped 30-of-32 shots over the course of the game, but could not stop the last one with 9:25 remaining in the extra frame.
Tyler Gratton tripped Stephen Halliday, but it was deemed that Halliday embellished the trip leading to four-on-four hockey.
With more space for players to work, Kevin Wall found himself with an unobstructed path to Dobes and sank home the one-timer off a pass from Connor MacEachern to force a game three in the series.
The 4-on-4 goal was one of several bright spots of the Penn State special teams units as the penalty kill took away all four Buckeye chances on the man-advantage including a five-minute major.
For the second consecutive Big Ten Tournament, Penn State forced a decisive game three against Ohio State in Columbus. Puck drop on that game three is set for 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Justin Ciavolella is a second-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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