COLUMBUS, Ohio - Behind 46 saves from senior goalie Christian Frey, the No. 11-ranked Ohio State men's hockey team blanked No. 2-ranked Penn State, 3-0, Friday in Value City Arena in game one of a Big Ten Conference series. The Buckeyes improve to 10-3-4 overall, while Penn State, which had a 13-game unbeaten streak and 11-game winning streak end, is now 13-2-1. Both teams are 2-1-0 in Big Ten play.
Saturday, the teams will meet at 8 p.m. in Value City Arena. A meet and greet is scheduled with select Buckeyes postgame and youth (8th grade and under) wearing a hockey jersey are invited to tour the Buckeye lockerroom postgame.
Ohio State 3, Penn State 0
Ohio State scored once in the final three minutes of each period en route to the shutout victory over the Nittany Lions, who rank first nationally in scoring offense and were averaging 4.87 goals a game entering the weekend. Drew Brevig scored in the first, Luke Stork scored in the second and John Wiitala added an empty net goal in the third. Brendon Kearney had two assists and Stork had a helper for a two-point night. Christian Frey made 46 saves, his fifth career game with 46 or more saves. Ohio State's penalty kill was 4-for-4 in the win.
Quoting Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik
On how last week's loss helped spur tonight's performance
"You have to learn from mistakes, and we made enough of them last week. Our guys made a decision coming back on Monday that we have to work harder, we have to be more committed, we have to compete harder. We certainly knew, playing a team like Penn State, that we needed to show up."
On how the intensity was different tonight than in the loss to Miami last week
"No question. I would have really been worried if our guys didn't show up and compete hard. There is so much more room [to grow], and that is the fun part with this team. I truly believe we have more to give and that is what we have to get out of them, and that is what I am going to continue to try and get out of them."
Quoting Ohio State senior goalie Christian Frey
On Penn State's high number of shots
"I like having a lot of shots. It gets you in the game; it gets you a feel of the puck early, and that's always nice."
On how he prepared for tonight's game
"We expect (Penn State) to shoot from everywhere. The whole week in practice we were working on following up rebounds, controlling pucks and stuff like that just because we know they are going to throw pucks at the net and crash."
Quoting Ohio State senior defenseman Drew Brevig
On the mindset of the defense
"When Frey is playing the way he did tonight, we all have a lot of confidence. We weren't perfect, we put him in some tough positions and he stepped up for us, which was huge. I think we all played a little more confident and when he is playing like that, we are a tough team to beat."
On freshman Tanner Laczynski and Team USA winning the World Junior championship gold medal "That is one of the better games you'll see, and if that doesn't get you excited to play tonight, just seeing those guys go out there and put their heart out there, that was just awesome."
In the First ...
The lone goal of the first came with 2:15 remaining, as a shot from the point by Buckeye senior Drew Brevig got through for his first tally of the year. Sophomore Brendon Kearney and freshman Gordi Myer, who passed the puck out to Brevig from behind the net, had the assists on the goal. Penn State had a potential power play goal overturned with 6:00 left in the period, after it was ruled the puck had been kicked into the net with a skate.
Shots were 16-8 Penn State in the period and the Nittany Lions had the only two power plays.
In the Second ...
The Buckeyes maintained their one-goal lead until there were 27 seconds left in the period. Sophomore Mason Jobst won the faceoff deep in the Penn State zone. Junior Luke Stork got around his defender and scored on a quick wrist shot.
The teams combined for 23 shots in the period, with Penn State ahead 13-10. The Buckeyes held the Nittany Lions scoreless on two power play chances, allowing just one shot on net in the two chances combined. Ohio State had its lone power play opportunity of the game.
In the Third ...
Penn State continued to apply pressure in the third, putting 17 shots on the Buckeye net, with Ohio State blocking another 10 attempts. Down two, the Nittany Lions pulled their goalie for the extra attacker with two minutes remaining and at 18:16 the Buckeyes took advantage. Luke Stork got the puck to Brendon Kearney and he passed to sophomore John Wiitala just outside the post, who scored his seventh goal of the year.
The Buckeyes put three shots on the Penn State net in the period.
Blocking the Puck
The Buckeyes were outshot by Penn State, 46-21. Penn State entered the game with an NCAA-high 48.3 shots on goal per game average. Ohio State has 26 or fewer shots in each of its last four games.
Buckeye senior Christian Frey made 46 saves while playing all 60 minutes in the win, his fourth game with 46 saves or more vs. the Nittany Lions. He had 16 saves in the first, 13 in the second and 17 in the third. It was his first shutout since back-to-back whitewashes Dec. 29, 2015 vs. Cornell and Jan. 8, 2016 at Wisconsin.
Penn State's Peyton Jones had 18 stops on 20 shots in 59:28.
As a team, the Buckeyes blocked 23 shots, led by redshirt junior Matt Joyaux with an Ohio State career-high five. It was the fourth time this season the team had 20 or more blocked shots.
The Buckeyes were scoreless on one power play chance and are now 17-for-71 on the year, ranking in the Top 5 in the NCAA at 23.9 percent. The Buckeye penalty kill was 4-for-4.
Buckeye This and That
• Brendon Kearney had his second two-assist game this season and of his career Nov. 5 at Robert Morris).
• With a goal and an assist, Luke Stork notched his seventh career two-point game and second in the last three outings.
• The Buckeyes have scored three or more goals in each of their last nine games and are in the Top 3 nationally in scoring offense, averaging 4.35 a night.
• Buckeye leading scorer Tanner Laczynski (6-16-22) missed the game after returning home from skating for Team USA at the IIHF World Junior Championship Friday. He is the first Buckeye to win a gold medal while skating for Ohio State and the second Ohio State player to win gold at World Juniors, joining Ryan Kesler (2004).