|Goals||First Period||Second Period||Third Period||Final Score|
|2||4:16||PSU||Even||Brandon Biro||David Goodwin/Trevor Hamilton|
|3||7:57||PSU||SH||Ricky DeRosa||Nikita Pavlychev|
|3||9:42||OSU||PP||Nick Schilkey||Mason Jobst|
|3||10:25||OSU||PP||Nick Schilkey||Mason Jobst/Miguel Fidler|
|3||19:59||PSU||PP-EN||Chase Berger||Denis Smirnov/Brandon Biro|
After dropping its first game in over two months on Friday night, No. 1 Penn State was looking for a better performance to avoid being swept for the first time this season. It did just that, taking care of business to collect a series split on the road with a very strong Ohio State hockey team. With the win, Penn State moves into the top spot in the PairWise Rankings, with a series versus Michigan State at home on the schedule next weekend.
Despite a shaky third period that saw the Nittany Lions nearly blow a 3-0 lead, Guy Gadowsky’s squad held on for a 4-2 win over Ohio State Saturday night.
The first period was largely a carry-over from the previous night. Both goalies, Peyton Jones and Christian Frey, continued their strong performances. Frey was especially strong in stopping all 12 shots he faced. Despite facing just five shots, Jones experienced higher quality opportunities.
The Nittany Lions finally beat Frey the only way it seemed possible. After David Goodwin rushed down the left wing and fired a shot on Frey, the rebound bounced out to Brandon Biro, who knuckled a shot at the open net, beating a desperate Frey. The high-octane Penn State offense struggled through the first four periods of the weekend series, being held scoreless for four periods after being held off the board for just three periods in all the previous games this season combined.
Neither side capitalized for the remainder of the middle frame, despite both sides being gifted significant power play opportunities. The Buckeyes received consecutive 5-on-3 chances, one lasting over a minute and a half, while the Lions were the beneficiaries of a five-minute major handed to Josh Healey for a high hit on Lions’ captain David Goodwin. There was a lot of chaos after the whistle in the second period but there wasn’t a lot of scoring.
Early in the third period, Erik Autio doubled the Lions lead on a 2-on-1 break. Looking off his teammate, Autio cruised down the left side of the ice, then fired a laser over Frey’s glove. It was exactly what the Lion’s needed. A two goal lead allowed the young team to relax a little bit, and for the first time this weekend it played with the dominance it has shown all season.
Ricky DeRosa added an insurance marker while short-handed midway through the frame, nine seconds into a penalty kill. The senior forward fired a wrister just past Frey’s pad for the Lions’ fifth short-handed goal of the season.
The Buckeyes did not go down quietly, however. On their third 5-on-3 of the game, captain Nick Schilkey hammered home a one-timer from the right circle to pull the Buckeyes to within two. Moments later, Schilkey potted his second of the game on a back door feed that gave Jones little chance to react. After the Lions had a lengthy 5-minute penalty earlier in the game and was not able to add to their lead, Ohio State collected two goals in two consecutive power plays. This was notable as it came against the Lions’ top-rated penalty kill.
As the Buckeyes maintained their pressure through the remainder of regulation, Jones and the Lions defense remained strong to the task, turning aside prime opportunities for the Buckeyes. Chase Berger capped off the scoring with an empty net goal that came a fraction of a second before the final horn sounded.
The Lions return home to Pegula Ice Arena for their next series as they host Michigan State on Jan. 13 and 14. After that Ohio State will travel to Hockey Valley for the final two games that PSU and OSU will play in the regular season. In a rare scheduling quirk, PSU and OSU will not face each other for the final two months of the season. Unless they face-off in the Big Ten tournament, or the NCAA tournament, the teams will share the ice for the final time in two weeks.
Stars of the Game
First Star- Brandon Biro, forward, Penn State. One goal and one assist.
Second Star- Nick Schilkey, forward, Ohio State. 2 goals.
Third Star- Peyton Jones, goalie, Penn State. 24 saves, win.