Game Grades: Ohio State
Entering the weekend, Penn State had not lost a game in 10 consecutive games. The Nittany Lions were able to extend the streak to 11 with a 5-2 win in the first game against Ohio State, but the Buckeyes trounced them the next day in a 5-1 loss. Here are the grades for Penn State over the weekend.
Peyton Jones has been the number one goaltender for the Nittany Lions entering the weekend and he got the start in both games. His play against Ohio State was a little erratic, to say the least as he dominated in the opening game in the win, but was unable to keep the puck out of the net in the series finale.
In the two games, Jones saved 82 shots as he used his length and reflexes to keep Ohio State from scoring double-digit goals over the weekend. The second game of the series saw the Buckeyes score five times, but the final goal was empty net finish by Austin Pooley. Jones’ weekend performance was remarkable, but the goals allowed in the second game makes it hard for his grade to be higher.
The most inconsistent group on the Penn State team is the defense as the team’s top defenders have continuously fought the injury bug. Trevor Hamilton started both games over the weekend and he contributed two assists over the weekend as he was comfortable in the offensive zone, but struggled to get in front of shots on the defensive side.
Kris Myllari and Cole Hults did not start over the weekend and they struggled to make a contribution in either game. James Gobetz had an assist in the opening game, but he was like the other Penn State defenders in struggling to stop the Ohio State attack. The two goals conceded in the opening game gives the defense a decent grade as the Buckeyes were able to attempt 89 shots in the series.
The inconsistencies of the offense were evident in both games as the Nittany Lions were scoring with ease on Friday, but failed to create a lot of opportunities on Saturday. Andrew Sturtz might be the best example of that as he had a goal and an assist on six shots in the opener, but did not even record a shot in the second game.
Brandon Biro and Denis Smirnov had similar games as the Penn State offense was unable to get anything going in the second game. Nikita Pavlychev was the only forward that played well in both contests as he scored the only goal for Penn State in the series finale.
Head coach Guy Gadowsky was able to bottle up the Buckeyes’ offense in the opening game as he was able to make the necessary changes on the fly to help Penn State win. The second game was different as Gadowsky was unable to make a good offensive game plan and the Nittany Lions struggled to score. His ability to keep the unbeaten streak as long as he did is impressive and it gives Gadowksy a good grade for his coaching in the opening game of the series.
Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.