Much of the build up heading into the weekend centered on the opportunity Penn State had against Ohio State. With a sweep, the Nittany Lions would have planted themselves four points ahead of the Buckeyes in the Big Ten standings. While the Lions made the most of their opportunity on Friday night, Saturday provided a different story for the Lions.
The Buckeyes took advantage of costly penalties en route to a 5-1 victory, reclaiming the second spot in the conference standings.
“Obviously we played shorthanded way too much to play against a team like them,” coach Guy Gadowsky said following the game.
The Lions afforded the Buckeyes five power play opportunities throughout the game, one of those being a five-minute man advantage late in the first period. The Buckeyes converted on two of those man advantages, while the Lions went 0-for-2 in the game.
How It Happened
After a relatively uneventful start to the contest, Tanner Laczynski opened the scoring for the Buckeyes. After the Lions failed to control a loose puck in the defensive zone, Freddy Gerard dangled past a pair of Lions defenders. The puck found its way to Laczynski, who tapped it into an open net.
Midway through the period, the Lions responded. After a flurry of chances in front of Tommy Napier, Nikita Pavlychev slid a rebound through the legs of the Buckeyes goalie.
Not long after Pavlychev’s goal, the Lions lost their leading goal scorer for the remainder of the game. As Janik Moser tried to avoid a hit by Andrew Sturtz, Sturtz’s knee connected with Moser’s, leaving the Buckeye defenseman writhing on the ice.
Sturtz was issued a five minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing. Midway through the extended man advantage, Freddy Gerard connected on a cross-crease pass by Ronnie Hein to give the Buckeyes the lead. While the goal was a quick effect of losing Sturtz, the effects wore on for the remainder of the contest.
“Losing Sturtz at any time is tough,” Gadowsky said. “He is an emotional leader. We weren’t able to come back from that like we were last weekend when we lost [Trevor] Hamilton.”
Midway through the second period, the Buckeyes converted on another man advantage to double their lead. Near the end of a penalty to Hamilton, Dakota Joshua redirected a shot-pass past Peyton Jones’ left pad.
The Lions failed to generate much offense during the middle frame, registering just nine shots on Nappier. James Robinson had a chance to give his team a spark later in the period after he was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked on a breakaway. The Lions’ captain tried to fire a wrist shot through the legs of Nappier, but the Buckeyes netminder turned the shot away.
While the Lions generated better opportunities in the final period, Nappier stood tall in the Buckeyes net. The freshman goaltender stopped all 19 shots he faced over the final 40 minutes, 10 of which came in the third period.
The Buckeyes added an insurance tally after Gadowsky pulled Jones for the extra attacker, as Gerard netted his second of the game with Trevor Hamilton doing his best impression of a goalie. Austin Pooley rounded out the scoring as he fired a wrist shot over Jones’ glove with under one second to play.