Whiteout Weekend Preview: Ohio State vs. Penn State
Andre Magaro, Kyle Cannillo, Jordan Mansberger and Derek Heid discuess this weekend's upcoming series against Ohio State:
Penn State. Ohio State. Whiteout.
Quite frankly that should cover the magnitude of this gut wrenching Big Ten series. What has been all smiles for one Big Ten powerhouse has been disappointment for the other.
The Penn State Nittany Lions will take on The Ohio State Buckeyes Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. from the Pegula Ice Arena in University Park.
The Buckeyes will come into this weekend ranked No. 4 in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll following a two game series split versus their rival, the Michigan Wolverines. The strength of the Buckeyes weighs heavily on their defense.
Both senior goaltender Sean Romeo and sophomore goaltender Tommy Nappier have split time in net. Nappier has played great so far this season, giving up only 1.58 goals against average with an impressive .945 save percentage. Coming into this weekend, Ohio State has given up 33 less goals then Penn State.
Ohio State is lead by senior forward Mason Jobst, who has been on fire into the new year. Jobst has recorded 9 points in his last 4 game and lead the team with a 1.14 point per game average this season.
While his offensive stats impress, it is actually his responsibility defensively that has made him one of the Big Ten’s hardest players to play against. He currently ranks second on the Buckeyes with a plus-.8 rating.
Fortunately for the Nittany Lions, scoring is their bread and butter. Penn State is top five in nearly all offensive categories. Penn State, scoring a staggering 4.86 goals per game, has no problem making even the best defenses look lost.
Penn State's numbers might convince someone that they are on top of the Big Ten. While they are still the team to beat, the Nittany Lions find themselves fourth in the Big Ten standings after splitting a two game series with the last place Michigan State Spartans this past weekend.
If a problem needed to be identified, for Penn State it would be their defense. Despite the offense being so talented, each and every series has found Penn State struggling on the defensive side of the puck.
“I'm disappointed in the job I've done defensively,” Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky said. “If we want to move forward that has to happen”.
There is no sugar coating 3.68 goals against average and shaky goaltending to say the least. Peyton Jones knows he need to play better. During last weekend's series vs Michigan State, Jones let in two goals that he likely wishes he had back. If Penn State wants to pull off the upset, they are going to need him to be at his best.
Penn State leading scorer Evan Barratt has yet to record a point since his return from the World Junior Championships. During the tournament the junior recorded only one point in route to a silver medal. Penn State would like him to break out of his scoring funk and get back to the prolific impact player he was before he left.
This weekend is going to define both Ohio State’s and Penn State’s season. The Nittany Lions have set themselves up for a “must split weekend”. With that being said, most predict just that. A split series would move the Nittany Lions up in the Pairwise poll while the Buckeyes would go down a few spots.
Will the Nittany Lions get the job done in the midst of a white out? Would a possible Friday night victory ‘hangover’ follow them into Saturday?
Kyle Cannillo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.