The Lions came into this game needing a win in order to remain in the hunt for a first-round bye in the Big Ten tournament. With this loss comes the reality that only a miraculous finish to the regular season will see the team not playing on the first day of the tournament.
Taylor Holstrom was injured during the game after tallying three points on the day. The injury seemed to have a serious effect on Penn State's morale and energy. It's uncertain how serious the injury is, but losing the team leader hurt badly today. Holstrom scored the 100th point of his career on the assist to Williamson on what was at the time the go-ahead goal. Should the red-shirt senior leader be unable to return to the ice in the next few weeks, it will be the last time he laced up the skates for the blue and white.
The first period began with the Lions looking slow and the Buckeyes holding the advantage in overall effort. Through the first ten minutes the home team controlled the game and had a major advantage in shots on goal. Matt Skoff held steady in net while facing the initial onslaught and when the dust settled the game was tied 0-0 halfway through the first period.
While the Buckeyes controlled the action for the majority of the early-going, Penn State was not without quality scoring opportunities. The Bailey/Holstrom/Goodwin line had several rushes that could have resulted in a goal but were turned away by Ohio State goalie Christian Frey.
Finally Casey Bailey was able to break through with a goal with just eight minutes left in the period on an assist from Goodwin and Holstrom. The assist was Holstrom's 25th on the season. Two shifts later the leading scoring line would add another tally, this time Taylor Holstrom got the goal on an assist from Bailey and Goodwin.
It appeared that the visiting team was going to cruise to an easy first period but less than a minute later Ohio State answered on a goal from Justin Dasilva.
For the remaining three minutes of the period Penn State held the advantage in scoring opportunities and overall effort. There were no penalties in the first period and very little hard hitting.
The second period was a mirror image of the first in many ways. Three minutes into the frame the first penalty of the game was called on Penn State, a two minute elbowing call on Nate Jensen. Twenty seconds later Ohio State was called for a penalty and the teams skated 4 on 4 for forty seconds before a third penalty was called. PSU was whistled again on a boarding penalty against Connor Varley. After having no penalties called for the first twenty-three minutes of the game, three overlapping calls were made. There would be no other penalties called for the remainder of the game.
The Buckeyes had a 4 on 3 advantage and was able to cash it in when Sam Jardine found the back of the net.
Two minutes later the Lions answered with a goal from Mike Williamson on the assist from Taylor Holstrom and David Goodwin. It was the third assist on the game for Goodwin, giving him a playmaker on the game. A playmaker is the passing equivalent of a hat-trick, given to a player with three or more assists in one game. It was the second time Goodwin has achieved this feat on the year.
From this point the game became very violent. The play was clean, there were no more penalties called the rest of the way, but many players went to the ice.
The third period began with Ohio State holding the advantage. Twice in the first four minutes the puck was behind PSU goalie Matt Skoff in the crease. The first time Schilkey crossed a pass through the crease but OSU was unable to stuff the puck into the net. A minute later the puck was behind Skoff on a rebound and David Glen reached in to stop the puck as it was headed for the goal. The save preserved the lead for the visiting team.
A minute later Taylor Holstrom went down to the ice with a serious injury. It appeared to be an ankle or a knee injury, and play was stopped to allow the injured player to vacate the ice. It is unclear how severe the injury will be but Holstrom did not return to the game.
The game changed when Holstrom went off the ice. Coach Guy Gadowsky was forced to alternate David Glen and Dylan Richard as center with the first line, double-shifting each center. This extra duty took a toll on the entire team and it was evident in the lack of energy that was displayed.
Ohio State scored the next three goals, turning a one-goal deficit into a 5-3 victory. It all happened so fast, with the team scoring three goals in four minutes. Penn State was left looking tired, demoralized and defeated.
The Lions were unable to mount any serious scoring attempts for the final six minutes and the game ended with the Buckeyes not just winning for the first time in consecutive nights, but sending PSU home having been swept.
- Penn State will host Michigan next weekend for the final pair of home games this season.
- The team has gone 1-5-0 in the past six Big Ten games.
- With one win over the next four games against Michigan and Minnesota, the Lions will clinch the first winning season in program history while competing at the division one level.