In the final game of the season, Penn State hockey was unable to muster up the strength needed to topple the team from Columbus. The game was evenly matched but the Buckeyes sucked the life out of Penn State with a late goal in the second period. Taylor Holstrom made it back to the lineup for what would be the final game of his career in a Penn State uniform. The senior center played a very gutsy game and it was clear that he wasn't 100% once he stepped onto the ice. Holstrom missed the final eight games of the regular season with an injury that was thought to be season-ending when it occurred.
After the game coach Gadowsky had this to say about his team's effort.
You know, you look at the game and you certainly wouldn't think that it was one of our best performances, but I'll tell you what, it was definitely one of our greatest. We had a couple of guys that probably shouldn't have played at all and really gritted it out. I know it's not the result we wanted but I'll tell you what. When these guys, especially the senior class, looks back at what they accomplished while they've been here and especially this season, I think they are going to be very proud.
The team had a very successful campaign and was able to push through some of the obstacles that held it down last season. A year ago the team was plagued by penalties and had trouble scoring. There wasn't a single penalty called on either team tonight, and through the season PSU led or was at the top of the scoring leaders per game in the country.
The game started with Penn State holding a slight advantage in terms of puck control. However, the Nittany Lions were unable to make it pay off with a goal.
Ohio State struck first. Nick Schilkey scored on the team's first shot on goal. It took eight minutes for the Buckeyes to record a shot but just as quickly the team had a lead. With playoff nerves and facing zero shots for the first third of the period, it is likely that goalie Eamon McAdam hadn't settled in to the game at that point.
The Lions stiffened the defense and began to get better scoring chances at this point. The teams skated with a fast tempo from end to end for the next five minutes with each team getting quality scoring chances.
With six minutes remaining in the period PSU got caught changing lines and as a result Justin DaSilva was left open in the high slot. DaSilva made it count as he got a blast past McAdam. While the shot had a great deal of velocity, McAdam normally would make the save on such a shot. There wasn't much of a screen in front of the net and it appeared the sophomore goalie had a clear view the whole time.
At this point PSU began to play with a sense of urgency and as a result scoring chances became more available for the team. For three consecutive minutes Guy Gadowsky's squad took quality shots but was unable to finish anything off.
The period ended with PSU leading in shots 11-7 but trailing 2-0 in score.
END 1ST: Ohio State 2, #PennState 0. Buckeyes jump out to an early lead, PSU has 11-7 edge in shots. #B1GHockey pic.twitter.com/ps9S6O9AuJ— Penn State Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) March 19, 2015
At the beginning of the period Penn State played with a furious pace. The team played with the intentions of getting back in the game.
Holstrom had a great chance to score in the early-going but Christian Frey was able to make the save with the shaft of his goalie stick and a little help from the post. The Lions continued to keep the pressure on and it seemed eminent that a score would soon follow the effort.
With a little over ten minutes remaining in the period, Max Gardiner finally broke through with a goal on an assist from Tommy Olczyk.
WATCH: Max Gardiner snipes one past Frey, it's 2-1 in the second. http://t.co/zG1y404PRd #WeAre #HockeyValley— Penn State Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) March 19, 2015
The goal gave the Lions an added spring in their skate but the team was unable to get another goal past Frey. With one minute remaining in the period, Ohio State got a breakaway goal from David Gust. On the play Gust was able to sneak behind the PSU defense and received a sweet pass just at the blue line.
The period ended with OSU back in front by a pair of goals and now holding an advantage in shots on goal as well, 22-19.
The final period of the game went by extremely fast. There were few whistles to stop play and the teams skated back and forth with a good flow to the action.
Penn State had several scoring chances but was not able to score a goal that would cut the lead in half. Late in the period coach Gadowsky pulled goalie Eamon McAdam but the team was still unable to muster a point. Connor Varley made a save while the net was empty, he will probably have a bruise to take home as a memento of the final game of the season.
When the final whistle blew OSU was up 3-1 and with that the 2014-15 season came to an end.
- Michigan State and Michigan will face-off at 8 p.m. for a chance to play for the Big Ten title.
- Ohio State will play Minnesota at 4:30 p.m.
- The comment section of this article will be used as an open thread discussion for the remainder of the Big Ten tournament.