Penn State vs. Ohio State Series Preview

Story posted November 4, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Christopher Hess

Following a massive win in Nashville over North Dakota, Penn State (6-1) found itself back in the USCHO top 20 at No. 16 and will travel to Columbus for a weekend set at Ohio State (4-2).

Connor MacEachern and Clayton Phillips each had a multi-goal effort in the 6-4 over the Fighting Hawks at Bridgestone Arena last weekend, increasing their goals totals to four and three respectively.

“I can say he [Phillips] was absolutely into it,” Guy Gadowsky said. “He was very sharp, all game long and did a lot of really good things.”

Carolina Hurricanes prospect, Kevin Wall, still leads the way in points for the Nittany Lions with eight (six goals and two assists). Additionally, defenseman Christian Berger has continued to play at a high rate, chipping in six points.

The Nittany Lions presented a balanced attack on both offense, defense and special teams, but one thing in particular needs work in Gadowsky’s eyes.

Penalties.

“It's something that we've discussed at length then tried to place priority on and this isn't the first weekend that that's an issue,” Gadowsky said.

In net, Oskar Autio has had a strong showing thus far, despite giving up four goals and three of them being on the power-play last weekend.

In five games played, the Finnish netminder has a 4-1 record with 10 goals allowed, a 2.00 goals-against average and a save percentage of .922.

Steve Rohlik’s Ohio State Buckeyes seem to present a great test to Gadowsky’s Nittany Lions over the years and that’s due in part to the system the Buckeyes play.

They use a version of the trap defense that is comparable to a full-court press in basketball, where movement is difficult and you’re in for a dogfight.

Tate Singleton and Cam Thiesing are the scoring leaders with five points and four points and Singleton has the most goals with three through six games played.

In addition, the Buckeyes present experienced players in the back-end such as Lake Superior State transfer Will Riedell, fifth-year Grant Gabriele, Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Ryan O’Connell and a young but promising player in Mason Lohrei.

After the departure of Tommy Nappier, one of the most decorated goalies in Ohio State history, freshman Montreal Canadiens prospect Jakub Dobeš has filled in nicely.

Through four appearances, Dobeš has a record of 3-1 with four goals allowed to complement a 1.00 goals-against average and a .954 save percentage.

Penn State trails the overall series 13-17-2 to the Buckeyes and are 5-5-1 in the last 11 meetings.

If the past 11 matchups are any indication of what’s to come, it should be a highly contested and entertaining series.

Special teams could be a deciding factor as Ohio State boasts the No. 5 power-play unit in the nation at 30.77 percent and the penalties will have to be cleaned up.

Penn State is among one of the most penalized teams in the nation and averaging 15.71 penalty minutes per contest simply won’t get the job done against a strong power-play unit.

The team that is able to stay out of the box the most in the two-game set will come out on top and it’s about as neck-and-neck as you could possibly get.

Prediction: Split

Christopher Hess is a fifth-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email christopherhess22@gmail.com.