Lugris Lifts Penn State Over Ohio State, Advancing To Big Ten Semifinals
One game decides the fate of two programs.
Penn State defeated Ohio State 2-1 in Game 3 of the Big Ten Quarterfinals Sunday night in Columbus, sending the Buckeyes home packing.
Senior defender Ryan O’Connell committed a kneeling penalty just over three minutes into the game, giving the blue and white its first powerplay of the contest.
On the ensuing man-advantage, junior forward Kevin Wall rang a shot off the post and the Nittany Lions failed to convert.
The first scoring chance the Buckeyes generated came with 7:32 in the opening period as graduate student forward Eric Cooley was stuffed on the breakaway by sophomore goalie Liam Souliere.
Around five minutes later in the period, Wall forced a turnover in the offensive zone, but freshman goalie Jakub Dobes made an excellent save to keep the game tied.
The two teams entered the second period deadlocked at zero.
Penn State continued to generate chances in the opening minutes of the middle frame, with Wall finding himself on a 2-on-0, but once again Dobes stood tall, making another incredible save.
The game remained tied until freshman forward Ryan Kirwan blasted a shot past Dobes, giving the blue and white a 1-0 lead with 7:30 left in the period. The goal marked his second in as many games.
The Nittany Lions looked to take their one-goal advantage into the locker room, but Ohio State had other ideas.
With just over a minute remaining in the period, senior forward Jake Wise completed an excellent pass to junior forward Tate Singleton, who made no mistake, ripping a shot past Souliere.
With both teams trading goals, the two rivals headed into the second intermission even once more.
Penn State freshman forward Dylan Lugris committed a hooking penalty just 44 seconds into the third period.
Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, they were unable to convert on the man-advantage.
The blue and white were granted a powerplay of its own, and Lugris had a glorious chance to break the tie, but Dobes made an amazing sliding save.
With around seven minutes left in the period, Lugris had another chance to break the tie, and this time the freshman made no mistake.
Senior defender Paul DeNaples made a great pass to Lugris, who ripped a shot past Dobes netting the go-ahead goal.
In the final minutes of the game, Ohio State pressured Souliere, but the sophomore goalie didn’t crack, coming up huge for his team.
Penn State managed to hang on for the 2-1 victory, moving onto the Big Ten Semifinals.
Souliere finished the contest making 23 saves, while his counterpart Dobes made 35.
After losing the opening game of the series, the Nittany Lions' back-to-back wins marked just the second time this campaign they have won two-straight conference games.
The two consecutive wins are also the first time the blue and white has won back-to-back games on the road since Dec. 7 and 13 of 2019.
Penn State became the first road team to win a best-of-three Big Ten quarterfinal series while advancing to its seventh straight Semifinals.
After Sunday night's victory, the Nittany Lions are set to take on Minnesota in the Semifinals.
The two teams recently played a two-game series at Pegula Ice Arena in late February, with the Golden Gophers capturing the sweep.
Minnesota took the series 3-1, with the Nittany Lions winning the first game and dropping the last three. Puck drop is set for next Saturday, Mar. 12 at 9 p.m.
Alex Rocco is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.