Goals By Period
Earlier this week, coach Guy Gadowsky explained how he wanted Sam Sternschein to be more selfish with the puck. Sternschein has long been a pass-first type of player, looking to set up a teammate rather than get the puck on net.
Sternschein has heeded Gadowsky’s request with a breakout season. While his scoring touch has been unveiled to the NCAA, his playmaking ability hasn’t diminished one bit.
Sternschein opened and closed the scoring for Penn State and added an assist as the Nittany Lions topped Ohio State 5-2 on Friday night. His nine goals this season are a team high, match his career best and tie him for the Big Ten and NCAA lead.
The Syosset, NY native said there wasn’t a discernible change in his offseason routine that has led to the scoring outburst.
“I think it’s just finally do what I’ve been trying to do for the past couple of years, it’s all coming together now,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I’ve changed much. Just got bigger, stronger, faster this summer. It seems to be paying off now.”
Sternschein began his productive evening with what would be one of four power play goals scored between the two teams. Stationed right in front of Tommy Nappier, Sternschein deflected a shot from Cole Hults past the Ohio State goalie.
Midway through the second period, Sternschein set up Brandon Biro for another power play tally, wheeling through the zone before snapping a cross-ice pass tape-to-tape for Biro to blast through Nappier.
His third point of the night, an empty netter from center ice, wound up being the game winner as the Buckeyes comeback attempt fell a goal short.
On either side of his tallies, however, the Nittany Lions looked flat. The Buckeyes controlled play early in the first and nearly completed a three-goal comeback in the final 90 seconds of the game.
“Obviously, a win’s a win. We’re happy with the win,” Sternschein said. “We know they’re going to come back ten times harder tomorrow. We definitely had some spots in the game we could have been a lot better, especially with our start. The end was not what we wanted, but we came out with the win. That’s all that matters. I think the guys are going to take that any day.”
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions opened the scoring on their first power play of the game. After the Buckeyes were caught with too many men on the ice, Sam Sternschein deflected his team-leading eighth of the season past Tommy Nappier.
The Buckeyes responded a few minutes later on a power play of their own. With Evan Barratt in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct, Carson Meyer knocked a loose puck through Peyton Jones.
Midway through the second period, the Nittany Lions regained the lead with another power play tally. As Sternschein wheeled through the Buckeyes zone, he found Brandon Biro with a cross-ice pass. The Penn State captain one timed a shot through the legs of Nappier for his sixth of the season.
Just over a minute later, Alex Limoges doubled Penn State’s lead with what may be the easiest goal of his career. Limoges gathered a deflected puck and tapped it into a vacant net as Nappier tried to locate it.
Early in the third period, the Buckeyes trimmed the lead to one with another power play goal. Gustaf Westlund found open space in the slot and hammered a one timer past Jones.
Not even a minute later, Liam Folkes restored the two-goal lead as he knocked home a pass from Limoges on the doorstep.
With time winding down in the third, Sternschein potted his second of the game on an empty net to give the Nittany Lions a three-goal lead.
Matthew Jennings trimmed that lead back to two as he lifted a shot past a sprawled Jones with just over a minute to play. Tanner Laczynksi made it a one-goal game with just 53 seconds to go as he picked the far corner on Jones.