Ohio State spotted Penn State a two-goal lead then awoke in a big way with five unanswered goals to defeat Penn State 5-2 before a Saturday matinee turnout of 5,771 in Value City Arena.
The Buckeyes (14-9-1, 4-5-1-0 Big Ten) swept the two-game series and have won three straight contests. The Nittany Lions dropped to 4-17-1 overall and are still looking for their first point in conference play after eight defeats.
“They never panicked,” OSU coach Steve Rohlik said of his players. “They got back to the locker room and talked about what we needed to, get back to the basics. Your big time players stepped up again.”
Junior Ryan Dzingel led the way with a goal and two assists, junior Tanner Fritz had a goal and one assist and freshman Nick Schilkey had two assists.
Juniors Max McCormick and Darik Angeli and sophomore Anthony Greco also scored while freshman goalie Christian Frey faced 26 shots, stopping the final 21.
Dzingel’s second period didn’t start well but it ended on a high note. After the Nittany Lions stunned the Buckeyes with two first-period goals, Dzingel had a chance in the opening minute of the middle stanza to cut the deficit but he was denied on a breakaway when Matthew Skoff made a pad save.
However, by the time the All-American and Hobey Baker candidate had completed the 20 minutes he had a goal and two assists and the Buckeyes led 3-2.
Fritz opened the Buckeyes’ account at 2:07 with a power-play goal off tic-tac-toe passing from Dzingel to Schilkey to Fritz cutting in front for a backhander and his fourth goal of the season.
The Buckeyes’ power play is the best in the Big Ten and No. 10 in the nation so it would have behooved the Nittany Lions to stay out of the penalty box but that was not the case and Dzingel scored his 17th with a dart from near the blueline at 3:36 with Fritz assisting to tie the score.
“Coach looks to us, especially on the power play, to get the job done,” Dzingel said. “We know we’re looked at to put points on the board.”
OSU was 2 for 4 on the power play while PSU was 0 for 4.
Dzingel then had the second assist when Greco put the Buckeyes ahead 3-2 at 18:53. Junior Nick Oddo took the pass from Dzingel and carried through the slot before a slick dish to his right caught Greco in stride. Greco finished with a quick shot for his third goal.
Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said OSU’s second goal was the game changer.
“That one might have hurt a little bit,” he said. “It took a little bit to get our energy back from that but I still felt pretty good going into the third.”
Ohio State didn’t rest on its accomplishments going into the third and added to the lead with McCormick doing the honors at 1:39 with an innocent looking shot from the blue line that evaded Skoff.
OSU completed the scoring when Angeli scored into an empty net with 87 seconds left.
The rally was in contrast to the Buckeyes’ start. They should have known Penn State would come out hungry after losing the opener of the series 5-1 on Friday.
PSU was on the attack from the onset and scored on its first shot at 2:31 with Richard Dylan beating Frey glove-side for his second goal. Dylan then assisted on the rebound goal by Casey Bailey at 6:47. Bailey’s third goal of the season came on the Nittany Lions’ fifth shot.
“We had a great start,” Gadowsky said. “Two power play goals will negate that pretty quickly. Certainly we had a good start but we couldn’t sustain it.”
The All-Buckeye team announced Saturday as part of the celebration for 50 years of Ohio State hockey contains members from the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
Defensemen named in the fan voting were Greg Kostenko (1977-80) and Jim Witherspoon (1971-74). Witherspoon was part of the Buckeyes’ first CCHA title in 1972.
The forwards are Hugo Boisvert (1997-99), Paul Pooley (1981-84) and Paul Tilley (1977-80) and the goalie is Jeff Maund (1998-99). Boisvert and Maund led Ohio State to its only Frozen Four in 1998.
Boisvert and Pooley could not attend when the All-Buckeye team was introduced during the first intermission. Pooley is on the coaching staff at Notre Dame while Boisvert is still playing in Germany.
Voting was done by position and based on a player’s accomplishments in college only. All players who were All-Americans, first or team all-conference selections or Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame members were included on the ballot.
More than 40 former players were brought onto the ice before the game. Witherspoon, Roger Hartsock and Rick Siferd from the first Buckeye team in 1963-64 did the ceremonial puck drops.