Through the first couple of months of the season, Penn State faced major issues playing a complete 60 minutes. The Nittany Lions allowed a handful of third-period leads to slip away as they wouldn’t show up for the final 20 minutes.
It seems they have solved that problem by making that their game plan.
For the second-straight game, the Nittany Lions came out flat and fell behind the eight ball as they lost to Ohio State 4-1 on Friday night.
Heading into the weekend, Buckeyes coach Steve Rohlik knew his team would have to keep Penn State’s shot total low to have a chance. The Buckeyes did just that, limiting the nation’s top offense to a season-low 25 shots.
Some of the easiest passes misfired for the Nittany Lions and shooting lanes quickly disappeared as the Buckeyes’ tight defense kept constant pressure on the Nittany Lions.
That stinginess forced careless mistakes as the Nittany Lions grew frustrated, and those frustrations were taken out in the form of six penalties before the second period ended. The Buckeyes converted on two of those power plays.
How It Happened
After the two teams traded chances early, the Buckeyes capitalized on the first power play of the night. Just nine seconds into a cross checking penalty to Kevin Kerr, the Buckeyes worked the puck around the Nittany Lions’ zone. Gustaf Westlund fired a shot short side as Peyton Jones was screened.
After a few missed calls, Penn State went to its first power play of the game with a little more than a minute to play in the first. After winning the faceoff, Ludvig Larsson fought to the front of the net and deflected a Cole Hults shot over the shoulder of Sean Romeo.
Early in the second period, penalty trouble came back to haunt the Nittany Lions once again. After a tripping penalty to Nikita Pavlychev ended a Penn State power play after just ten seconds, a Ludvig Larsson high stick gave the Buckeyes a brief two-man advantage.
Tanner Laczynski made Penn State pay, blasting a one timer over the blocker of Jones to put the Buckeyes back in front.
From there, the Buckeyes took control of the game and midway through the period doubled their lead. After a defensive zone turnover, Mason Jobst held the puck behind the Nittany Lions’ net. Jobst found Westlund as he drifted into the slot. The Buckeyes freshman one timed a shot that found a hole in Jones.
The Buckeyes smothered the Nittany Lions the rest of the way. Penn State’s quality chances were limited as even the easiest passes failed to connect. With time winding down, Ronnie Hein one timed the dagger home after Laczynski wheeled around the Nittany Lions zone.