One night after being completely destroyed by No. 15 Penn State in a 6-1 shellacking, the Ohio State mens hockey team and its offense not only woke up but put up seven on the Nittany Lions to take the second game of the weekend series in Happy Valley.
The Buckeyes came out guns blazing in this one, scoring more goals in the first nine minutes than they did in the entire first game of the series. David Gust started off the scoring at 1:31 with assists from Nick Schilkey and Matt Weis. Then at 6:49, Tommy Parran scored his first collegiate goal with assists from John Wiitala and Gust. Gust must've been upset with his 15 game point streak ending on Friday versus Penn State. To top off a splendid first period for the Bucks, Freddy Gerard scored his second goal of the season at 8:47 with assists from Schllkey and Josh Healey.
It looked like this would be a pretty safe lead for the Bucks, even with their shaky goaltending as of late. Matt Tomkins got the start after Christian Frey was pulled on Friday after allowing three goals on 20 shots. Tomkins has been known to have his moments, like his quick start to this season, but most of the he's been a trainwreck with a mediocre save percentage. OSU didn't really get either extreme on Saturday afternoon but Tomkins tried to put the fear of God in any Ohio State fan.
Penn State would get one on the board before the end of the first as Chase Berger put one in at 17:46 to cut the lead to 3-1. Still, things looked pretty safe for Ohio State to some degree at least and one goal wouldn't completely put the Bucks' momentum in the past. Or so they thought. Penn State would go on to score the next three goals of the game in the second and third periods.
Andrew Sturtz scored his 15th of the year, unassisted, at 10:43 and then Penn State would add another in the frame to tie the game at three as David Goodwin scored on a Penn State powerplay. The two teams would go into the second intermission tied at three and OSU's three goal lead within the first ten minutes of the game seemed like eons ago.
The third wouldn't start off much better as Penn State got their first lead of the game on a Kevin Kerr at 2:53 to make it 4-3 in favor of PSU. OSU would knot it back up pretty quickly, though, as Weis scored his eighth of the season at 5:00 with assists from Schilkey and Healey. And OSU would get their lead back just 42 seconds later as Wiitala scored his seventh of the season with assists from Dalrymple and super-freshman Mason Jobst. Dalrymple's shot almost trickled through Penn State goalie Matthew Skoff and in on its own, and Wiitala was there to pound it home across the line.
That 5-4 Ohio State lead would hold until 14:55 when Weis scored his second of the game and ninth of the season to make it 6-4. Gerard and Schilkey registered the assists. Schilkey had four total in the game and passed Gust for the team lead in points now, with 30 to Gust's 29. Anthony Greco would seal it for good, scoring in the empty net at 19:34 with assists from Healey and Dakota Joshua. It was Greco's 11th of the year.
Matt Tomkins had 30 saves on the night for a robust, at least for him, .909 save percentage. Ohio State peppered Skoff with 42 shots, including 19 in their scoreless second period alone. Goodwin's powerplay goal was the first one the Bucks allowed in eight games. It ended OSU's 21 successful penalty kills in a row.
Ohio State improved to 4-8-2-1 in conference and 9-17-2 overall while Penn State fell to 9-6-1-1 in conference and 19-9-4 overall. Penn State actually leads the nation in shots per game at 42.9 and has an amazing +31 goal differential on the year. So the Big Ten's newest program is far from a fluke and because of that, the Bucks splitting the season series with Penn State is quite the accomplishment.
The Bucks will be back in action next weekend when they host the Big Ten's last place team, the Wisconsin Badgers.