Penn State Hockey: No. 13 Nittany Lions Earn 5-2 Victory Over No. 6 Ohio State
That was the word Andrew Sturtz used to describe Penn State hockey's 5-2 win over Ohio State on Friday night. A game that didn't quite look like its final score, the Buckeyes out shot the Nittany Lions 47-36 overall and 22-11 in the second period. For a team used to leading the nation in shots on goal, it was a bit of a role reversal but a welcomed result nevertheless.
The key, scoring first. Denis Smirnov, who was held without a point against Wisconsin, managed two in the first period, scoring 5:18 into the game on a rebound and then feeding the puck to Nate Sucese nearly 10 minutes later to close out a strong first period.
Even so, Ohio State continued to press forward, out shooting the Nittany Lions in that opening frame 15-11, stopped only by the skills of netminder Peyton Jones who was outstanding all evening.
“He was awesome,” coach Guy Gadowsky said. “We had a couple of big mistakes, but he was tremendous when he needed to be.”
One reason for the potentially long night, Mason Jobst, one of the best forwards in the Big Ten, who waited just 3:19 into the second period to crank home a shot high through traffic on the power play. The Buckeyes pressed all period, nearly cracking Jones on several occasions, but not before freshman Evan Barratt extended Penn State's lead to 3-1 four minutes later.
"We do," Barratt said about feeling more confident, his early season plagued with injury. "We have a lot more confidence playing together than we did at the start of the year, that's what you'd expect."
Jobst answering Barratt, you could expect that too. And he did minutes later to send both teams to the second intermission with Penn State leading by just a goal. The result, an uneasy feeling in a packed Pegula Ice Arena that was watching their team chase the puck far more than shoot it, a rarity at home.
So the third period was a tense one, each team trading blows and chances, Chase Berger swept a loose puck out of the paint just moments before an Ohio State play looked ready to tie the game. And then Andrew Sturtz looped through the offensive zone on the man advantage and ripped a shot, one that slowly trickled between the legs of goal Sean Romeo and into the net.
It was 4-2 with just 3:13 to play, and Barratt would seal the deal with an empty net goal, giving Penn State its final score and a reason to cheer.
But with another game tomorrow, and the No. 6 ranked Buckeyes champing at the bit, the celebration didn't last long.
"Anytime you get Penn State and Ohio State on the ice together you're going to get a good game," Gadowsky said.
And tomorrow night they'll play another.