Hockey Game Grades: Penn State vs. Ohio State

posted January 24, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Jack Milewski

The Penn State Nittany Lions split their series on the road in Columbus, topping the Buckeyes 3-2 in overtime on Friday and falling 5-1 on Saturday. Penn State was quick out of the gate on Friday, netting a shorthanded goal in the first period. They didn’t score again till the clock ticked under five minutes left in the game. Alec Marsh then tallied a goal in the overtime period to move Penn State to 3-0-3 in overtime games. In game two, Penn State’s electric offense was held in check and Ohio State netted five goals to take the second game of the series. Eric Scheid scored the only goal for Penn State, who were off their game all night. Here are this weeks game grades:

Offense: B-

Hot and cold, off and on, Jekyll and Hyde. You can use as many clichés as you want to describe Penn State’s offensive performance this weekend. Simply put, it’s just not what Nittany Lion fans are used to seeing from this team who have at times seemed like the best offensive team in the nation. The first night was a struggle for consistency, while the second night was just a struggle in general. The Nittany Lions took a decent amount of shots as they usually do, but were unable to created scoring chances in the slot, get traffic to the net, or create those second chance rebounds for the majority of the game. Andrew Sturtz may have had the best look of the weekend and that was shorthanded in game one. Game two was difficult to gauge because of three posts, but all in all, Penn State is capable of more and should have produced more in this one.

Defense: B

Game one had many bright spots defensively and the Nittany Lions blue line was able to keep Ohio State in check. They killed four out of five penalties and limited the Buckeyes to just two goals in a game that Ohio State looked like they were going to win for the majority of the first sixty minutes. Game two is where the grade slips a bit. Giving up five goals to that same team that was snake-bit the night before downgrades any assessment. Yes, Ohio State caught a few breaks, but Penn State didn’t do enough defensively to even give the struggling offense a chance. If both defense and offense were on, game two may have been different. But instead, both seemed to decide to take the night off and the results showed.

Goaltending: B

Again, a tale of two nights and a tale of two goalies. Matthew Skoff looked like a superstar in game one. He made 38 saves and stymied the Ohio State squad numerous times. He made one snow angel save with the left pad that was particularly impressive. When it was all said and done, Skoff gave his team a chance to win the game and they did. Night two was a different story. Eamon McAdam gave up four goals on 29 shots faced and didn’t look to be his usual self. Yes, his defense left him out to dry at times, but the stellar play that we are accustomed to seeing from McAdam just wasn’t there.

Special Teams: C

Another weekend, another short-handed goal. Ho-hum. At this point, it’s become the norm to see Penn State net one while they are down a man. It was another solid performance all around by the Nittany Lions while down a man, despite the fact they gave up two goals, they again threatened to score short-handed. 0-5 on the power play for the series is not such a great stat. Especially when you consider how poorly Penn State played offensively. The power play can get teams back in games and series and Penn State did not utilize it to their advantage at all.

 

Coaching: C

This has been a weird game grades all ready due to the fact that Skoff was compared to a number one goalie and McAdam dropped to the two spot. I simply don’t get the goaltender switch after night one. I get that he’s been doing it all season and I get that he essentially has two number ones and that if he alternates, they will both stay fresh. But you can not take Skoff out from between the pipes after the performance he had on Friday. If there is a flaw to the two goalie system, it is that at times, switching to the other goalie almost fails to acknowledge the great performance from the night before. Goalies are creatures of habit, it is a very mental position and more so than anywhere else on the ice, if they are hot, you ride your starter. It won’t be known if Skoff would have made a difference in game two, but at some point, you have to stray away from the two goalie system and just go with the guy who had the better night.

Jack Milewski is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jbm250@psu.edu.