Penn State Splits Series with Ohio State

Story posted January 13, 2018 in Sports, CommRadio by Mason Gallina

Penn State hockey splits home series with Ohio State
By Mason Gallina

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-Peyton Jones recorded 45 saves as the No. 13 Penn State Nittany Lions (13-7-3, 6-4-3-2 Big Ten) defeated the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes (14-5-4, 7-5-1 Big Ten) 5-2 Friday at Pegula Ice Arena.

It extends Penn State’s unbeaten streak to 11 games.

Penn State started strong by going up 2-0 in the first period but heavily relied on heroics from Jones to hold on to the win.

“Peyton Jones was awesome,” Guy Gadowsky, Penn State head coach, said. “We had a good start but we had a couple big mistakes and he was just tremendous when he needed to be.”

Jones continuously stood on his head to keep the puck out of the net, especially during the second period when the Buckeyes outshot the Nittany Lions 22-11.

Gadowsky said junior Andrew Sturtz referred to it as a “gutsy win” on the bench at the end of the game.

Sturtz recorded his team-leading 29th and 30th point of the year with a goal and an assist.

Sturtz’s power-play goal put Penn State up 4-2 and came with just 3:31 left in the game. The junior forward was able to gather the puck after it came off of Evan Barratt’s stick and he then went on to maneuver through the Ohio State defense before slipping the puck passed Buckeyes’ goaltender Sean Romeo.

It was Sturtz’s 11th goal of the season, good for first on the team.

Gadowsky said freshman forward Barratt looked much more comfortable with the puck on his stick and also in the face-off circle.

“As the year goes on you definitely get a lot more comfortable,” Barratt said. “I’ve been playing with those guys for a couple weeks now so it’s helped my confidence.”

Barratt had two goals and an assist and was a +2 in the game. The Chicago Blackhawks draft-pick also won nine of 14 from the face-off dot.

Gadowsky said the Barratt line, with Alex Limoges and Liam Folks on his wings, has started to pick it up.

“That line is getting better and better,” Gadowsky said. “Obviously that’s a goal of ours to have production from all four lines.”

The Limoges-Barratt-Folkes line combination is responsible for 23 points in 14 games together. It is the third highest scoring line combination all season for the Nittany Lions, only trailing the lines of James Robinson-Chase Berger-Andrew Sturtz and Denis Smirnov-Nate Sucese-Brandon Biro, who have 37 points per line.

Biro, Smirnov and Trevor Hamilton each recorded two points while Berger and Limoges each added one point.

Penn State handed Ohio State its first loss since last time the two teams met on Dec. 2, when the Nittany Lions took down the Buckeyes 4-0 in Columbus.

“We needed a bit of getting amped up,” Gadowsky said. “I thought Ohio State was excellent…but you have to give the guys credit for pulling it out because Ohio State was very good.”

However, the sixth-ranked Buckeyes responded with a strong showing in the series finale.

Freddy Gerard scored two goals and recorded an assist as Ohio State (15-5-4, 8-5-1 Big Ten) took down Penn State (13-3, 6-5-3-2 Big Ten) 5-1 Saturday.

Penn State was outshot 42-31 in the game. It was only the fourth time all season the Nittany Lions saw that feat. The Nittany Lions are 1-3 when being outshot this season.

Gerard gave Ohio State the lead with a power-play goal in the first period after Penn State forward Andrew Sturtz was tossed from the game because of a kneeing penalty on Janik Moser.

Penn State started strong in the first period but seemed to struggle after losing Sturtz, the team’s leading point getter on the season.

Sturtz was assessed a five-minute major and a 10-minute game misconduct. Gerard gave the Buckeyes the lead on the resulting power play and the scarlet and grey never looked back.

“I tried to stay calm but it’s a big loss,” Chase Berger, Sturtz’s line mate said. “He’s a great player…and we definitely missed him out there.”

Sturtz plays with a ton of grit and offensive skill that Penn State missed in tonight’s game.

Gerard added an empty-net goal late in the third period to seal the deal.

Tanner Laczinsky had a goal and two assists, to bring his team-leading point total to 33 points on the season.

Laczinsky got the game’s first goal when he slotted home a Gerard pass into a wide-open net. It was his 11th goal of the season and first of the series.
Ohio State went on to outshoot Penn State 28-19 through the last two periods to secure the win. Penn State had just three shots on net in between the circles in the third period. All other shots came from along the walls.

It was Ohio State’s first win over Penn State this season.

Nikita Pavlychev scored his eighth goal of the year, which was the only goal for the Nittany Lions. Blake Gobetz got the assist, which was his fourth of the season.

Gadowsky said Penn State took way too many penalties and was not good enough in the face-off circle.

“Obviously we played shorthanded way too much against a team like that to give ourselves a good chance to win,” Gadowsky said.

Penn State recorded 21 penalty minutes to Ohio State’s six penalty minutes. The Nittany Lions were also 23 of 60 from the face-off circle.

Trevor Hamilton said it is important for Penn State to put this game in the past and just move on to next week.

The bounces didn’t go our way,” Hamilton said. “There are nights like that…but the game is behind us now and we are just looking forward to next week.”

Penn State travels to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines Friday and Saturday, who are coming off a series sweep on the road at Minnesota.

Mason Gallina is a senior majoring in digital/print journalism. To contact him, email mason.gallina13@gmail.com.