Penn State vs. Ohio State Series Grades
Penn State was soaring into conference play on Thursday after defeating North Dakota for one of the program’s greatest victories and being ranked for the first time this season.
However, the good times did not last long for the Nittany Lions, as they were swept on the road by Ohio State and fell to 6-3 on the season.
The Buckeyes took game one by a score of 5-2, then finished off the sweep with a 4-1 victory.
Here’s a look at how each position group performed in the frustrating series for the Nittany Lions.
Scoring three goals total in a two-game series is quite abysmal, but the Nittany Lion offense contained some of the only positives of the series for Penn State.
Firstly, Penn State’s offense got off to strong starts in both contests, drawing first blood in the first period in both games.
In game one it was Kevin Wall, the team’s leading scorer, who continues to play well, and in game two it was Connor MacEachern, scoring less than five minutes into the contest.
Not only did Penn State get off to fast starts, it also outshot the Buckeyes in both games, 35-27 in game one and 30-29 in game two.
The issue with Penn State’s offense in this series was not being able to respond. In both games Ohio State rattled off four unanswered goals or more without a Penn State tally.
As conference play continues, Penn State’s offense will have to find ways to stop the bleeding, especially in tough road environments if it wants to be one of the top teams in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes were able to go on runs where they scored four unanswered goals or more, and while it is the offense’s job to respond, it is the defense’s responsibility to never let it get that bad.
The defense simply had trouble staying with Ohio State’s skaters who scored nine goals total throughout the series.
The defense is not getting a lower grade because the Ohio State offense has been surprisingly good this season, scoring goals by the bucketful against even traditionally good defensive teams like Michigan State.
Either way, the Penn State defense must be sounder, especially late in games.
The Buckeyes were able to score three or more goals in the third period in both games of the series, which is unacceptable for a team that wants to contend in the Big Ten.
There is not much to say about the goaltending side of things as both Oskar Autio and Liam Souliere got in one start and were about average.
Penn State’s goaltending did not change the series. The duo did not make any show-stopping saves to keep the Nittany Lions in the game but also wasn’t terrible.
It’s one thing to lose your grip on the first conference game on the road in the third period, but to do it two nights in a row is unacceptable.
The Nittany Lions were right there in both games with chances to win, but when it came to the final frame, Ohio State dominated.
Whether it be the offense adjusting or the defense staying organized, Penn State head coach Guy Gadowski has plenty to work on before the Nittany Lions take on the juggernaut that is Michigan.
Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Second Year / Broadcast Journalism