Tournament Preview: Penn State vs Ohio State
Everything is on the line for Penn State men's hockey, as it looks to keep its season alive in Columbus against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Join Andre Magaro, Derek Heid, Jordan Mansberger and Nathan Pullen as they break down this Big Ten semifinal matchup:
The Nittany Lions are not done yet. In an action-packed three-game series, Penn State finds a way to down Wisconsin in overtime in a decisive game three.
Penn State versus Wisconsin proved why playoff hockey is once again in its own category. In game one, the Badgers used a solid first and second period to squeak past Penn State. The Nittany Lions stormed back in the third period and cut the two-goal deficit, but a soft goal with under two minutes remaining was enough to stifle a comeback. The Badgers took game one 4-3.
Game two was a different story. The Nittany Lions came ready to play in all aspects, dominating the Badgers and taking game two by a score of 6-2. Penn State recorded 54 shots, and Alex Limoges lead the way with two goals. Penn State was most successful with strong outlet passes and creative zone entries. The ability to put a defense on its heels is what makes Penn State one of the most prolific offenses in all of college hockey.
Game three was arguably the best in the Pegula's history and college hockey's “game of the year.” In the second period, the Badgers scored two goals in thirty seconds to snag a 3-2 lead. The energy in the arena was deflated as the Badgers took all momentum.
The tide turned, however. Nittany Lion goalie Peyton Jones made a diving left pad save on a Badger's offensive effort that left him outnumbered 4-to-1.
Immediately after the save, Penn State had an offensive push of their own. Once again Alex Limoges scored, tying the game at three. In front of a nervous crowd, Wisconsin and Penn State went to overtime.
Penn State’s Liam Folkes came up clutch once again for the Nittany Lions. Just two years ago, Folkes scored the overtime goal against the Badgers to win the Big Ten Championship. Fast forward two years later, and Folkes is back in the same position. He had nine points in the three-game series. The Nittany Lions stormed the ice to celebrate the thrill of victory, while the Badgers once again hang their heads in defeat.
Up next for Penn State is Big Ten’s best, the Ohio State Buckeyes. Unlike round one, the semi-finals will be a one-game “winner takes all” fashion. The Buckeyes were awarded a first-round bye and home-ice advantage for the tournament. Ohio State is no doubt the Big Ten’s most complete team. No matter what the result, they will find themselves in the NCAA tournament. Their opponent, on the other hand, would likely have to win the Big Ten Championship to get in.
Despite Ohio State’s success this season, they do find themselves in a bit of a slump. The Buckeyes have won just once in the last six games. Fortunately for them, the bye week gave them time to regroup. In the regular season, Ohio State took three out of the four games against Penn State. Ohio State stood up at the blue line, made zone entries difficult, and counter-attacked really well. If Penn State wants any hope of pulling off the upset, they must refrain from the dump and chase, enter the zones cleaner, and use each possession wisely.
The game will be at 3:30 p.m. this upcoming Sunday at Value City Arena and will be aired on Big Ten Network.
Prediction: Ohio State 5-2
Kyle Cannillo is a freshman at Penn State majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org.