Malone, Foulds Lead Penn State to Narrow Win over Ohio State

Story posted March 6, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Matthew McLaughlin

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — It was a back-and-forth affair Saturday afternoon in Panzer Stadium, but after the final whistle blew, the Penn State Nittany Lions remained on top, earning their first win of the season in a 15-13 victory over the No. 12 Ohio State Buckeyes.

Coming into this matchup, Penn State had been outscored by a combined margin of eight points in its first two games of the season, but in this game, the offense was clicking on all fronts.

Junior attacker TJ Malone had an outstanding game, firing 12 shots on goal for five scores and also tallying two assists while getting help from Dylan Foulds. The grad student from British Columbia nailed four goals on five shots, which brought a huge spark to the offense.

The most important factor of this win, however, was the turnover battle, which Penn State won considerably. The Nittany Lions forced 24 turnovers from the Buckeyes while only coughing up 16 of their own.

Furthermore, Penn State forced six or more Ohio State turnovers in three of the four quarters in this matchup, which just shows how much head coach Jeff Tambroni emphasizes defensive pressure. Limiting the opposition’s opportunities and taking advantage of their mistakes was the attitude of his Penn State squad in this matchup.

Another point of emphasis coming out of this game was the sloppy play by the Buckeyes. While both teams earned three penalties, the Buckeyes were down a man for one whole minute longer than the Nittany Lions.

Even though Penn State did not score on any of the man-advantage opportunities, that additional 60 seconds only helped Penn State build up more offensive momentum and put extra pressure on Ohio State to battle back.

With all that being said, there are still facets of the game Penn State needs to improve in, namely taking advantage of extra man opportunities. Coming into this game, Penn State had only converted two of seven such chances, including scoring on one of five against Rutgers in the season opener.

Second, winning the faceoff circle will immensely help this offensive unit play to its strengths. In this category, Ohio State won 18-13, which led to a late rally of three straight goals that nearly cost Penn State the lead. Winning faceoffs will obviously give Penn State more possession time but will also allow the team to slow down the offensive tempo and maintain composure in critical points of games.

Going forward, Penn State (1-2) will seek to continue its season turnaround as it will face Johns Hopkins on Saturday, March 13, whereas Ohio State (1-1) will try to bounce back against Michigan on Sunday.

 

Matthew McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mem6936@psu.edu.