STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The No. 6/7-ranked Ohio State men's hockey team skated to a 5-1 victory at No. 13-ranked Penn State Saturday in Pegula Ice Arena. Freddy Gerard and Tanner Laczynski led the Buckeyes with three points each in the victory, while freshman goalie Tommy Nappier made 30 saves in the win.
The Buckeyes, 7-1 in their last eight outings, head home from State College with a series split and in second place in the Big Ten, two points ahead of Penn State. Ohio State is now 15-5-4 overall and 8-5-1-0 in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions, who had their 11-game unbeaten streak end with the loss, are 13-8-3 overall and 6-5-3-2 in league play.
Ohio State has next weekend off before hosting back-to-back series in Value City Arena. Michigan comes to Columbus Jan. 26-27, with puck drop at 7 p.m. for game one and 8 p.m. for game two. The Buckeyes and Michigan State will meet at 7 p.m. Feb. 2-3.
Ohio State 5, Penn State 1 - The Short Story
The Buckeyes opened the scoring at 5:08 of the first period on a Tanner Laczynski goal. Penn State tied the game at 12:53 but Freddy Gerard scored on a major power play less than three minutes later to put the Buckeyes back ahead. Dakota Joshua lit the lamp in the second period, along with goalie Tommy Nappier stopping a penalty shot, to give the Buckeyes a 3-1 lead through 40 minutes. Ohio State carried the two-goal edge until late in the third, stopping Penn State on a power play at 8:10. In the closing minute, Gerard scored into an empty net and Austin Pooley scored as time expired for the 5-1 final. Nappier had 30 saves in the Buckeye net, while Laczynski (1g, 2a) and Gerard (2g, 1a) each had a team-high three points and Matthew Weis had two helpers. The Buckeyes were 2-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
— Ohio State M Hockey (@OhioState_MHKY) January 14, 2018
Quoting Coach Steve Rohlik
On scoring first, early in the opening period
"I thought we had a really good effort right from the start tonight and to get the early lead was certainly a key."
On adjustments from Friday's loss
"The biggest thing was cleaning up a few of the mistakes we made last night and the odd man rushes we gave up last night. We tried to correct some things on special teams. The bottom line is our effort - we want to continue to get better. We got beat by a good hockey team last night and I think we came out here tonight and I think our guys just weren't going to be denied."
Quoting freshman forward Austin Pooley
"It was a great team win in a very tough environment. We were challenged to be better than on Friday and I thought we did that tonight. To beat a great team like that on the road is always exciting."
In the First Period
Ohio State opened the scoring at 5:08. Junior Freddy Gerard found sophomore Tanner Laczynski at the far post for his 11th goal of the year, with senior Matthew Weis starting the play. The Nittany Lions answered at 12:53 on a goal by Nikita Pavlychev. A Nittany Lion was assessed a major at 13:43, putting the Buckeyes on a major power play. Ohio State took advantage and scored at 15:49, with sophomore Ronnie Hein finding Gerard all alone in front. Laczynski had the second assist on the power play tally. Shots were 14-12 in favor of the Buckeyes in the period.
In the Second Period
The only goal of the middle stanza came at 7:03, when Ohio State notched a second power play goal (its fourth of the weekend). In the slot, Dakota Joshua redirected a pass from Gordi Myer to put the Buckeyes up by two. Kevin Miller also assisted on the score, Joshua's seventh of the season.
At 13:59 Buckeye freshman goalie Tommy Nappier stopped a penalty shot attempt by James Robinson to maintain Ohio State's two-goal advantage.
The Buckeyes led in shots, 14-9, in the period.
In the Third Period
The Buckeyes held their two-goal lead for much of the third. At 8:10 Ohio State killed a penalty, allowing just two shots on net during the chance. The team then scored twice in the final minute. With the Nittany Lion net empty, Tanner Laczynski gathered the puck in the Buckeye zone and fed it to Matthew Weis. He passed to Freddy Gerard as the two skated in 2-on-1, and Gerard's shot went through at 19:27. With time expiring, Buckeye freshman Austin Pooley blocked a shot near the Ohio State blue line. He raced up the ice and scored on a wrist shot with less than a second remaining.
Ohio State again led in shots, putting 14 on net. Penn State had 10 shots in the period.
Blocking the Puck
Ohio State outshot Penn State, 42-31, in the game, the second straight game with 40+ shots. Buckeye freshman goalie Tommy Nappier had 30 saves in all 60 minutes for his first Big Ten win. Peyton Jones had 37 saves in 58:47 in net for the Nittany Lions.
Ohio State was 2-for-5 with the man advantage and put 13 shots on goal during the chances. The Buckeyes have a power play goal in five straight games, converting 9-of-22 (.409) opportunities in the stretch. The squad is 20-for-98 (.204) this year.
Ohio State, after allowing two power play goals for the first time all season Friday, was 2-for-2 on the PK Saturday. The team leads the NCAA on the penalty kill, stopping 82-of-91 (.901) opportunities.
Noting the Buckeyes
• Tanner Laczynski leads the Buckeyes with 23 assists and 34 points this year, ranking second nationally in points and leading the NCAA in assists. He is on an eight-game point streak with five goals, nine assists and 14 points in the stretch. He has a point in 14 of the last 15 games (8g, 17a, 25p) and has two or more points in each of his last four games.
• Ohio State is now 10-2-1 on the road this year, ranking second in the NCAA in road winning percentage.
• When scoring first this season, Ohio State is 10-0-2.
• The Buckeyes are fourth in the NCAA in team defense, holding opponents to 2.12 goals per game. Penn State entered the game as the NCAA’s highest scoring offense, averaging more than 4.0 goals per night.
• Matthew Weis extended his point streak to eight with his fourth two-point game in the last five outings. He has a 3-10-13 line during his streak and ranks second on the team this year with 26 points, posting eight goals and 18 assists.
• Freddy Gerard had his second two-goal game of the season and of his career. It was his second career three-point game and first since Jan. 9, 2016 vs. Wisconsin.
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