Sternschein’s Big Night Guides Nittany Lions to 5-4 Victory over Buckeyes
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes traveled to Pegula Ice Arena to take on the No. 6 Penn State Nittany Lions in a matchup that featured two of the top goalies in the nation in Tommy Nappier of Ohio State and Peyton Jones of Penn State. By the time the final horn sounded, the Nittany Lions came out on top in a tight 5-4 home win over their Big Ten rival.
Both teams were getting shots on net quickly and frequently in the first period.
At the 9:52 mark, Penn State cashed in on the power play, as Sam Sternschein scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season on assists from Cole Hults and Nate Sucese. Sucese picked up his Big Ten-leading 19th point of the season on that assist. That goal also extended Sternschein’s goal streak to four games.
However, Ohio State quickly responded when Carson Meyer netted a power-play goal at 12:57 off assists from CJ Regula and Gordi Myer to tie the game up at one.
Penn State’s offense was buzzing when it went on the power play at 9:26 in the second period. It looked like Nate Sucese had a tip-in goal, but it was waved off. The Nittany Lions did not let that affect them, though, as just a few seconds later, captain Brandon Biro converted on a cross-crease pass from Cole Hults at 11:21 to take a 2-1 lead.
Only one minute and 17 seconds later, Alex Limoges tapped in an Evan Barratt rebound to record his sixth goal of the season and extend the Penn State lead to 3-1.
Six seconds into a power-play, Gustaf Westland of Ohio State scored his sixth goal of the season off assists from Quinn Preston and Grant Gabriele. Now a one-goal game, Ohio State seemed to have the momentum.
But Liam Folkes had a different idea, as just 44 seconds later, the senior scored his fourth goal of the season, shifting the momentum back in favor of Penn State.
Trailing 4-2 late in the third, Ohio State decided to pull goalie Tommy Nappier in favor of the extra attacker. At 17:45, Sternschein capitalized. After taking a pass from Denis Smirnov, Sternschein fired from near center ice to give the Nittany Lions a 5-2 lead.
Ohio State was not ready to give up yet, though. With 1:26 left in the third, Matthew Jennings beat Peyton Jones to make it a 5-3 game. Immediately after, Tanner Laczynski sniped one past Jones and brought the Buckeyes within one with 53 seconds left.
Despite Ohio State’s best efforts, it was too little too late. Penn State was able to hold on to win 5-4.
Four Nittany Lions finished with multiple points, including Sternschein, who finished with two goals and an assist. Jones made 28 saves on 32 Ohio State shots, while Nappier stopped 36 out of 40 for the Buckeyes.
After the game, Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky said that he “didn’t feel good” about the way the game ended, with Ohio State scoring two goals late in the third. However, he was pleased with the way Penn State played before that.
“Whenever you beat a quality team like that, you’re pleased,” Gadowsky said.
When asked about Sternschein, he mentioned that the thing that stood out to him was how he was playing in the defensive zone. He acknowledged that Sternschein is playing extremely well all-around this season.
Sternschein said that his teammates are “making it easy.” He credited a lot of his success to Aarne Talvitie, Nikita Pavlychev and Denis Smirnov for setting him up with good opportunities.
With the win, Penn State improves to 6-1-0 in Big Ten play, and Ohio State falls to 2-3-0. The two teams will play again on Saturday night at 6 p.m.
Zech Lambert is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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