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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Pick Up 6-3 Victory Over Ohio State

on February 08, 2020 8:04 PM

No. 9 Penn State hockey (18-9-3, 10-7-3 Big Ten) notched their 10th Big Ten win of the season against No. 13 Ohio State (16-10-3, 9-8-3-1 Big Ten), handing the Buckeyes their second home loss of the season and first in 12 games by a final score of 6-3.

After getting on the board early in the first with a Denis Smirnov power play goal, the Nittany Lions held a steady lead throughout the game, tacking on three more in the second and maintaining a multi-goal lead throughout most of the game. Evan Barratt also scored two goals in the contest, with additional goals coming from Alex Limoges, Brandon Biro, and Cole Hults.

Peyton Jones once again had a stellar performance, stopping 28 of 31 shots.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions struck first a little over seven minutes into the game when wing Denis Smirnov put an exclamation point on an aggressive power play shift with a point-blank one-timer goal with the help of a beautiful backdoor feed from Brandon Biro.

While Ohio State outshot Penn State 14-12 and had a few close scoring chances in the first period, Peyton Jones stood strong in net and stopped everything that came his way. Penn State’s defense also did an exceptional job at clearing the puck and preventing Buckeye rebound opportunities throughout the opening 20 minutes.

The Nittany Lions went up 2-0 eight minutes into the second period when Alex Limoges and Evan Barratt both crashed the net for a rebound and managed the poke the puck between Buckeye goalie Tommy Nappier’s legs. Limoges was credited with the goal, although it was hard to see whose stick managed to poke the puck in.

Penn State struck again four minutes later with a nifty behind-the-net wraparound shot from Brandon Biro to extend the Nittany Lions’ lead to 3-0.

Ohio State got on the board for the first time with six minutes left in the second period when an Evan Bell cross-checking penalty led to Buckeye leading scorer Carson Meyer putting one past Jones directly off the faceoff. This goal marked only the third goal allowed by Penn State’s penalty kill all season.

An after-the-whistle scrum with 1:45 left in the second led to some four-on-four fun to end the period. However, a Carson Meyer tripping penalty led the Nittany Lions to go on a four-on-three power play with 1:00 left.

The power play unit once again capitalized with 17 seconds left when an Evan Barratt one-timer from the top of the faceoff circle from a Cole Hults backhand pass put the Nittany Lions up 4-1 to end the period.

The Buckeyes cut the lead in half 1:15 into the third when a Ronnie Hein shot deflected off Penn State defenseman Kris Myllari into the net past Jones.

While Penn State shifted to a slightly more defensive style of hockey in the third period, the juggernaut offense continued peppering Nappier with shots and scoring chances. With four minutes left, Ohio State decided to pull Nappier and go on the extra man advantage in an attempt to muster two last-minute goals. Ohio State winger Ryan O’Connell lit the lamp to pull the Buckeyes within one and put the Nittany Lions in danger of blowing yet another third period lead with 2:18 left.

Penn State responded instantly with an Evan Barratt empty-net goal from center ice as soon as the Nittany Lions regained control of the puck.

Cole Hults put it away for good with 38 seconds left when he cleared the puck deep in his zone and ended up scoring a goal of his own, sealing the Nittany Lion victory by a final score of 6-3.

Takeaways

  • Penn State captain Brandon Biro only needed a week to shake the rust off after spending almost a month off the ice. He was everywhere on the ice tonight, and he delivered a beautiful behind the net assist to Denis Smirnov while scoring a behind-the-net wraparound goal of his own. It’s good to see Biro shaking off this nagging injury that has plagued him for a significant amount of his final season in State College.
  • After scoring for the first time in four games last night, the power play unit stayed hot on Saturday, capitalizing on the first power play opportunity of the game and scoring again late in the second on a four-on-three advantage. The Nittany Lions’ special teams units consistently outperform their opponents and are always a beacon of hope when the Nittany Lions are on either side of a man advantage.
  • With just their second win in the last eight games, it was good to see Penn State have a good, clean, dominant win. Aside from the very end when a Buckeyes comeback tie seemed inevitable, the Nittany Lions maintained momentum throughout the game, and their offensive attack always seemed on the brink of scoring.

What’s Next

Penn State will head to Madison, Wisconsin next weekend to take on the slumping Badgers. The first game of the series will start at 8 p.m. on Valentine’s Day.

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