Series Grades: No. 4 Ohio State

Story posted January 21, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Matthew McClure

In one of the biggest Big Ten matchups of the year, No. 4 Ohio State traveled to Happy Valley to face No. 13 Penn State. Ohio State pretty much controlled both games in the series winning game one 4-1 and game two 6-4. 

Buckeye forwards Gustaf Westlund, Tanner Laczynski and Mason Jobst all had major weekends and led their team to a convincing sweep. Penn State has to be frustrated with how they played in both games, and right now, their season is declining in the wrong direction. Here are the grades for the Nittany Lions performance in the series:

Offense: C

The high-powered Penn State offense was kept off the board for most of this weekend. In the 4-1 loss in Friday’s game, the Nittany Lions got outshot 33-25 and seemed flustered by the Ohio State defense.

The only goal Penn State got was in the first period on the power play from Ludvig Larsson from the likes of Denis Smirnov and Cole Hults. The Nittany Lions had plenty of opportunities, but didn’t take advantage of the power play only going 1-6.

Although Penn State scored four goals in game two, Ohio State was still able to prevail for a 6-4 victory. Penn State seemed to get some momentum late in the first period when Evan Barrett got a shorthanded goal to tie the score, 1-1.

A goal from Liam Folkes early in the second period gave the Nittany Lions a 2-1 lead. It was a very back and forth second period but Penn State played most of the period shorthanded. The Nittany Lions got 38 shots on goal, but went 0 for 3 on the power play.

Defense: C-

This was another weekend of hockey where the Penn State defense struggled. Ohio State took it to them in game one of the series and pretty much dominated throughout. Ohio State cashed in on the opportunities they got, and took advantage of the Nittany Lions mistakes.

Penn State brought the energy on defense and tried to match the physicality of the Buckeyes, but there were too many penalties. Ohio State went 2 for 6 on the power play in game one, and 4 for 10 in game two. Penn State put themselves in some very tough situations on defense, and the Buckeyes made plays in the offensive zone that was the difference in the game.

Goaltending: C

Penn State goaltender Peyton Jones has had his ups and down all year, and he faced his toughest test of the season this weekend.

In game one, Jones stopped 29 of 33 Buckeye shots and made some nice saves, but Ohio State had some nice opportunities to get shots on him all game long. In game two, the struggles for Jones continued when he allowed six goals on 39 shots.

Although Jones did have 33 saves, it’s very hard to win when the other team gets that many goals. Not all the goals are his fault, but he needs to be better for Penn State moving forward if they want to turn their season around. 

Coaching: C-

In the biggest series of the year, Guy Gadowsky’s team looked very undisciplined. Penn State had 16 penalties this weekend, 10 of them on Saturday. That is unacceptable when trying to knock off one of the best teams in the country.

The team wasn’t ready to play this weekend and some of that blame has to be on the coach. There are too many inconsistencies with this team, and it’s disappointing because how well the team started the season.

If the Nittany Lions want to turn this season around, everybody from the coaches to the players have to step it up. With the sweep Penn State has 17 points and are fifth in the Big Ten standings.

Penn State’s upcoming series this weekend is against the Michigan Wolverines, so Gadowsky and the Nittany Lions need to figure this out fast.

 

 

Matthew McClure is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact, email mcm5964@psu.edu.