Series Preview: Penn State vs. Ohio State

Story posted January 7, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Christopher Hess

After a split in East Lansing against Michigan State, Penn State (4-6) will continue its road trip in Columbus on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9 against Ohio State (3-6-1).

Both sides have experienced quite a bit of roster turnover and are still trying to make things work with a number of new faces in every facet.

Penn State’s offensive production through 10 games, as compared to years past, is down significantly, as the Nittany Lions sit at 2.87 goals per contest, which is just 27th-best nationally.

Senior captain Alex Limoges, is averaging a point per game, as he currently has 10 points, consisting of six goals and four assists.

Connor MacEachern, Tim Doherty and Kevin Wall each have seven points apiece and have been able to acquire “Grade A” chances, but the results haven’t really shown thus far.

Defensively, the Nittany Lions have shown flashes of brilliance but also flashes of what could be interpreted as a nightmare.

Paul DeNaples, Clayton Phillips and Jimmy Dowd Jr. have been consistent in the back end for Guy Gadowsky’s team, and it showed in the 1-0 win over Michigan State.

However, the Nittany Lions experienced some swiss cheese moments early in Game 2, and Phillips getting a game misconduct ultimately led to the floodgates opening, with Michigan State eventually winning 5-1.

In net, Oskar Autio has slowly improved his game with a 3-3 record to complement a 3.16 goals-against average and an .883 save percentage.

Liam Soulière, on the other hand, is still experiencing some struggles with a 1-3 record alongside a 4.37 goals-against average and an .850 save percentage.

Steve Rohlik’s Ohio State Buckeyes, like Penn State, have been experiencing offensive struggles.

The Buckeyes are ranked No. 39 nationally with just 2.07 goals per contest. They haven’t exactly gotten enough productions out of their forwards.

Freshman Travis Treloar leads all Buckeyes forwards with nine points (three goals, six assists). Quinn Preston is the leader in goals with four.

The defense, however, is a different story. Although the Buckeyes average 2.76 goals surrendered per game, they run a version of the trap defense that tends to suffocate opposing offenses.

Evan McIntyre and Grant Gabriele are the leaders of the defense and are usually the first pairing. Vegas Golden Knights draft pick Layton Ahac is an enforcer in the third defensive pairing.

As for between the pipes, Tommy Nappier has been one of the main reasons why Ohio State has been competitive in virtually every game it has played.

He will enter the weekend series against the Nittany Lions with a 3-6-1 record, a goals-against average of 2.75 and a .918 save percentage.

Penn State is 4-1 in its last five games, and the Buckeyes haven’t played since Dec. 18.

Gadowsky’s team will need to revert back to the basics and play extremely physical while in the O-zone.

Nappier has the ability to stand on his head at any given time, and Penn State will have to get some greasy goals in both contests in order to find a win.

These teams are even in virtually every statistical category except for goaltending, and that could be the difference in this series.

Do not be surprised if one of these games goes into overtime or the shootout. The two sides have produced some stellar games against each other recently, and this series will be no different.

Prediction: Split

Game 1: Penn State 3, Ohio State 2 (OT)

Game 2: Ohio State 5, Penn State 3

 

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