No. 6 Penn State Hockey Faces Off vs. No. 17 Ohio State in Big Ten Clash
No. 6 Penn State Hockey enters a weekend series with No. 17 Ohio State, that could have major implications in the Big Ten championship race.
No. 6 Penn State Hockey welcomes the No. 17 Ohio State Buckeyes to Pegula Ice Arena for a Friday/Saturday series this weekend that could prove pivotal in the Big Ten race.
This weekend will mark the 41st and 42nd matchup between both programs, with the Nittany Lions holding the overall 21-15-4 record, with a 9-5-2 record inside Pegula.
During the regular season last year, Ohio State had a 3-0-1 record over the Lions, but ultimately lost to Penn State Hockey in a best-of-three Big Ten quarter-final matchup, becoming the first road team in Big Ten history to accomplish a three-game series victory.
Full Scouting Report
The Buckeyes have returned eight of their top-10 goal scorers from last season, losing a 20-goal scorer in Georgii Merkulov after signing an entry-level deal with the Boston Bruins.
Jake Wise leads Oho State in points with (6 goals, and 11 assists) in 16 games played, not far behind is Stephen Halliday (4 goals, 9 assists) in 16 games.
Penn State Hockey will look to lock these two down defensively while focusing on putting plenty of pucks past Jakub Dobes. The Czechia goaltender won Big Ten goalie of the year last season and has started all 16 games for the Buckeyes thus far. He has earned a .913 save percentage with a respective 2.31 goals against average.
Dobes was also previously drafted by the Montreal Canadians 146th overall in the 2020 NHL entry draft. Ohio State is also a heavily penalized team, ranking third in the Big Ten with 197 PIMs, compared to Penn State’s 115 PIMs.
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On the other side, Penn State Hockey goaltender Liam Souliere has only made five starts against the Buckeyes, posting a 2-2-1 record with 2.77 goals against and a .905 save percentage.
Souliere has taken strides since then, accomplishing an impressive 11-2-0-2 record with a .924 save percentage this season. Offensively, Kevin Wall leads all Nittany Lions with four career goals and two assists in 13 games against the Buckeyes. Penn State also has the advantage of scoring depth, with ten players at ten or more points on the season.
The long list includes Jimmy Dowd Jr. (10), Xander Lamppa (10), Christian Sarlo (10), Tyler Gratton (10), Ryan Kirwan (10), Conner MacEachern (11), Kevin Wall (11), Ben Schoen (12), Conner McMenamin (12), and team leader Ture Linden (13).
Overall, Penn State Hockey will have multiple advantages in this matchup, including home ice, scoring depth, and pace of play.
Although conference games are never an easy sweep, penalties will come, and it’s essential that the Lions keep the powerplay momentum going. Ryan Kirwan scored two goals on the man advantage last weekend, after going scoreless on the powerplay for ten straight games.
Get ready for a highly penalized weekend, with flashes of a goaltending duel on either side.
Prediction: Penn State Sweeps 2-0
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