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Penn State Hockey Preview: The No. 14 Nittany Lions Travel to Take on Ohio State

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The team heads outside of Pennsylvania for the first time since November.

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Who: Ohio State University
When: Friday 7:00 p.m. EST, Saturday 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center, Columbus, OH
TV: N/A
Stream: Audio: Fri+Sat
Live Stats: Gopsusports.com

This weekend, Penn State (15-4-3) will get their first look at the Ohio State Buckeyes (6-12-2) this season as the No. 14 team in the country, according to the newest USCHO.com poll. After finishing off the Wisconsin Badgers at home, the Nittany Lions will head out of Pennsylvania for the first time in 2016 to face a Buckeyes squad coming off two high scoring games against the Michigan Wolverines.

The Nittany Lions struggled a bit keeping the young, scrappy Badgers at bay last weekend, but ultimately came away victorious and jumped one spot in the USCHO rankings. In order to keep climbing, Penn State will have to take care of an Ohio State team that is leading the bottom half of the Big Ten Conference.

Getting To Know The Buckeyes

Like Wisconsin, Ohio State is quite a young team. More than half of their roster is made of underclassmen, with nine freshmen compared to 11 total upperclassmen. Despite the gap, the Buckeyes have three players at or just below 20 points on the season, with one of those being freshman Mason Jobst with 19 points, who is tied for the team lead in assists with 14.

Rounding out Ohio State's top offensive producers are seniors David Gust and Nick Schilkey with 20 points on the season. Schilkey has 10 goals so far on the season -- with five of those coming on the power play -- while Gust sits at the top of the team with 14 assists. Senior Anthony Greco also squeaks into the Buckeyes top four with his 10 goals that ties him with Schilkey at the top of the team.

In a surprise move, head coach Steve Rohlik has been splitting goaltending duties between his two junior netminders Christian Frey and Matt Tomkins. Frey did have a drop off in production last season with a .909 save percentage in 24 games played, and giving even splits between the two juniors has worked out quite well for the netminder. In 10 games, Frey has a .925 save percentage and a 2.34 GAA. Tomkins, on the other hand, has an .892 save percentage and a 3.73 GAA, so adjustments might still be needed by Rohlik and crew on their starts. Regardless, Penn State will likely face both netminders this weekend so they will have their chances.

With 3.30 average goals for per game, Ohio State has the 15th best offense in the country, according to USCHO.com. They let in the same average number of goals they produce per game, so while Penn State might have to weather a storm, they can take advantage of Ohio State's defense on the counterattack.

The worst will come on the Buckeyes lethal power play, which has succeeded at a 22.35 percent rate for No. 11 overall in the NCAA. And despite taking an average of 13.5 penalty minutes a night, Ohio State has four shorthanded goals on the season, so Penn State's power play must find a way to combat the Buckeye penalty killers or they'll have a rush going the other way.

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