STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Gustaf Westlund’s third period goal stood as the gamewinner, as the No. 11 Ohio State men’s hockey team defeated No. 6/5 Penn State, 4-3, Saturday to wrap up the Big Ten weekend series in Pegula Ice Arena. The teams were tied at one after the first and three after the second, with Westlund breaking the deadlock at 13:04 of the third. Ohio State is 7-4-1 on the year, with a 3-3-0-0 Big Ten ledger. The Nittany Lions are 10-3-0 and have a 6-2-0-0 B1G mark.
The Buckeyes return home for back-to-back series in Value City Arena to close out the first half of the schedule. Ohio State will host Michigan State next weekend, with puck drop at 5 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Minnesota comes to Columbus Dec. 6-7 for two 8 p.m. games.
The Short Story – Ohio State State 4, Penn State 3
The teams traded goals in the first period, with Tanner Laczynski scoring for Ohio State in the final minute. Penn State went ahead 2-1 at 2:53 of the second, but Ohio State scored back-to-back, with a Quinn Preston power play goal and Gordi Myer tally, for a 3-2 advantage. The Nittany Lions got a PPG of their own for a tie score after 40 minutes. Gustaf Westlund notched the gamewinner with just under seven minutes remaining in regulation, assisted by Laczynski and Preston. Freshman goalie Ryan Snowden played the third period in relief of injured starter Tommy Nappier, stopping all 15 shots he faced in his first collegiate action to pick up the win.
Quoting Buckeye assistant coach JB Bittner
“I think the guys have played as hard as they can every game this year. But, we had a little better detail without the puck tonight and that was the difference.”
Quoting Buckeye senior Tanner Laczynski
“This was a huge gutty win for us. To lose the last three games by one goal, it was tough. But the resiliency in the lockerroom to overcome adversity tonight and rally behind Snowden in the third is a big step in the right direction.”
Ohio State 4, Penn State 3
In the First … The teams were tied after 20 minutes. Liam Folkes opened the scoring for Penn State, as Alex Limoges forced a turnover behind the Buckeye net and fed Folkes at the side of the net at 10:54. With the teams skating 4-on-4 in the final minute, freshman Layton Ahac found Tanner Laczynski at the Penn State blueline with a long stretch pass. He beat his defender and scored top shelf at 19:26. Wyatt Ege also assisted on the goal, his 50th career point. Ohio State had the edge in shots, 12-8, in the period.
In the Second … Each team scored twice in the middle stanza. Evan Barratt put the Nittany Lions ahead at 2:53. On the power play, goalie Tommy Nappier fed Quinn Preston at the PSU line and he scored to tie the game at 9:02. Gordi Myer gave the Buckeyes a 3-2 lead at 11:25. Gustaf Westlund led him into the zone between two Nittany Lions and he scored far side. Three seconds into a power play the Nittany Lions tied the game, with Brandon Biro scoring off a faceoff at 14:53. Each team had 13 shots in the period.
In the Third … The lone goal of the third came at 13:04 and stood as the gamewinner. Preston passed to Laczynski outside the crease and the puck went on to Westlund. He gathered it and chipped the puck past the goalie for a 4-3 edge. Penn State pulled its goalie with more than three minutes remaining but the Buckeyes shut them down. Ohio State freshman goalie Ryan Snowden stopped all 15 shots he saw in the third in his first career game action. Ohio State had eight shot blocks in the period and put nine shots on net.
Shots … Penn State outshot the Buckeyes, 36-34, in the game. Nappier started the game for the Buckeyes and played 39:50, with 18 saves and three goals allowed, through two periods. Snowden played the third because of a Nappier injury and had 15 saves on 15 shots. The Buckeyes had 18 shot blocks, led by Myer with four and Grant Gabriele with three. Forwards Miguel Fidler, Preston, Matthew Jennings and Ronnie Hein each had two.
Special Teams … The Buckeyes were 1-for-3 with the man advantage and Penn State scored once on two chances.
Buckeye This and That … The Buckeyes’ last six games have been decided by one goal each, with Ohio State 3-3 in those games … Ohio State is 4-4 in one-goal games this year … Laczynski and Westlund share the team point lead with 13 each … Westlund had two points in each game at Penn State … Laczynski is tied for second nationally among active skaters with 122 career points and his 1.07 points per game average is the highest among upperclassmen … Ohio State is in the Top 10 nationally on the power play, with 16 goals on 57 chances (.281).