COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 13-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey lost the regular season series finale to No. 9 Penn State, 6-3, Saturday in Value City Arena. Penn State led 1-0 after the first and had a 4-1 advantage entering the third. The Buckeyes made it a one-goal game with an even strength and extra attacker goal in the final stanza, but the Nittany Lions scored twice into the empty net for the victory.
The Buckeyes, who had their 11-game home unbeaten streak end, are now 16-10-4 overall and 9-8-3-1 in Big Ten play. Penn State improves to 18-9-3 and 10-7-3-0 in the Big Ten. Penn State stands in first place in the league with 33 points, while the Buckeyes, Michigan State and Minnesota are all tied for second, two points back (31). Notre Dame has 28 points and Michigan (currently leading Wisconsin) has 24. Penn State and Ohio State have both played 20 games, while the Spartans, Gophers, Irish and Wolverines have played 18.
Ohio State has a bye next weekend before a road trip to Michigan State Feb. 21-22, with puck drop at 7 p.m. each night. The regular season concludes with a series vs. Wisconsin Feb. 28-29. The teams will meet in Value City Arena at 6 p.m. in game one and 8 p.m. on Senior Night for game two.
Quoting Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik
“The guys battled tonight, but 3-0 is a tough hole to come back from. I believe in this group. We look forward to the week off and will get ready for the stretch run.”
Ohio State vs. Penn State
In the First … Denis Smirnov tallied on the power play at 7:23 of the opening period for a 1-0 Penn State lead. Shots were 14-12 in favor of the Buckeyes in the period.
In the Second … Alex Limoges and Brandon Biro pushed the Penn State advantage to 3-0 with tallies at 7:50 and 11:36. Carson Meyer put the Buckeyes on the board at 14:03 with a power play goal. After a Tanner Laczynski faceoff win, Meyer drove the net, scoring on a backhand. Meyer has 11 goals this season, while Laczynski leads the Buckeyes with 21 assists and 27 points. Evan Barratt answered with just 16 seconds left in the period with a 4-on-3 power play score. Penn State outshot the Buckeyes, 15-9, in the stanza.
In the Third … Buckeye senior captain Ronnie Hein tallied 1:14 into the period, as his shot off a rebound of a Tate Singleton attempt deflected in for his seventh goal of the year. Ohio State pulled its goalie with more than four minutes remaining and Ryan O’Connell took advantage, notching his first goal of the year at 17:42 for a one-goal game. Jaedon Leslie, who has a point in three straight games, and Eugene Fadyeyev assisted on the tally. Penn State pulled ahead by two on a Brandon Biro empty net goal at 18:15 and Cole Hults closed the game with an empty net score of his own at 19:20. The teams combined for just 14 shots in the period, with Ohio State ahead, 8-6.
Shots … Penn State ended with the edge in shots, 33-31. Tommy Nappier played 57:11 in net and had 27 saves for the Buckeyes, while Peyton Jones made 28 stops in 59:58 for Penn State. Ohio State had 13 shot blocks, with Matt Miller leading the way with three and Wyatt Ege and Meyer each blocking two.
Special Teams … Ohio State converted 1-of-3 power play chances and Penn State was successful on each of its two opportunities.
Carson Meyer scored his 11th goal of the year in the second period.
Assist to Tanner Laczynski – his 20th assist and team-best 27th point this season. pic.twitter.com/ru8ca6Sdyb
— Ohio State Men's Hockey (@OhioStateMHKY) February 8, 2020
Senior captain Ronnie Hein with goal No. 7 on the year early in the third.
Freshman Tate Singleton assisted on tally. pic.twitter.com/h5aCZ3sHps
— Ohio State Men's Hockey (@OhioStateMHKY) February 9, 2020