Penn State got the first win in Columbus for a visiting team over the past 12 games, just the second this season. It is not easy to beat the Buckeyes on their home ice and with the tie on Friday night, the Lions won the series 1-0-1.
The win will move Guy Gadowsky’s squad up to first place in the Big Ten standings. The win against a top-16 team in the PairWise Rankings moved Penn State back to No. 7.
The Lions travel to Wisconsin, currently in last place in the B1G, for a pair of games next weekend.
How It Happened
It started as the first game of the series ended. Play was crisp from end to end and both sides were competing hard.
The Lions went on a power play and it took a minute for the advantage to take hold. Penn State was able to get the puck in the offensive zone and then Denis Smirnov finished a play that began when Sam Sternschein broke his stick. While Sternschein was skating off, Smirnov got to the front of the net and grabbed the loose puck.
The Lions killed off a penalty with five minutes to play before the first intermission, Ohio State’s best chance at getting it back even. The teams went to the locker rooms with the score Penn State 1, Ohio State 0.
The second period went several minutes without either side tempting the goal but Alex Limoges broke that streak with some work in front of the net. He tipped the puck initially and then smacked the rebound in.
The Buckeyes worked hard to stay in the game and their crowd helped as well. Four minutes later Brandon Biro got the puck in back of the net and then when he tried to wrap around the shot, the puck went in off an Ohio State player.
With 6 minutes to play in the period Ohio State nearly got one past Peyton Jones but the puck bounced off Jones’ skate and then the post. Off the next faceoff the Buckeyes finally broke through, as Carson Meyer got a backhand past a diving Jones.
It appeared that OSU was going to make another run at getting back in the game. The crowd was supportive and the team was playing as though it expected to score two and get back in the game.
The teams swapped penalties in a big rumble at the end of the period and the Lions ended up with a 4 on 3 power play. Evan Barratt made them pay. He took the backhand pass from Cole Hults and ripped it past Tommy Napier.
The goal came with just 17 seconds on the clock before the second intermission, giving the Lions a 3 goal lead. It also sucked the life out of the stadium, which had gotten back into the game when the lead was cut to 2.
When the teams emerged from the locker room the place was quiet. Less than 90 seconds later, Ohio State got them rocking again, with a goal by Ronnie Hein. There was plenty of time to make a comeback and while Penn State had a two-goal cushion, it wasn’t feeling comfortable.
Time drained off the clock without another goal until with 7 minutes left in the game, Tyler Gratton was called for a penalty, giving Ohio State a chance to cut into the lead. It ended up working out for the Lions as they were able to burn the penalty time, and when it was over there was less than 5 minutes to play.
With 2:20 to go, Ohio State cut the lead to one with an empty net goal. The remaining fans came back to life and for a while it seemed like there might be a miraculous comeback. Instead a shot from center ice by Brandon Biro put the game on ice, giving PSU a 5-3 lead with 1:44. Cole Hults added a second empty net goal to increase the lead with 39 seconds to go.