COLUMBUS, Ohio — After winning their first-ever Big Ten regular season title, the Ohio State men’s hockey team was thoroughly trounced by Penn State in the Buckeyes’ first tournament game of the season as they fell to the Nittany Lions at home in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, 5-1.
Ohio State didn’t come out with very much energy as they had just one shot on goal in the opening five minutes, but that quickly changed as they lead Penn State in shots 7-3 with 8:53 left in the first period after a power play opportunity, although they would fail to score on the 5-on-4 advantage.
The Nittany Lions would be the first to strike in the semifinal game as right wing Liam Folkes netted one past Buckeye goalie and Richter award semifinalist Tommy Nappier to give Penn State a 1-0 lead with 8:37 left in the first period.
Penn State would pile it on at the buzzer as left wing Alex Limoges put one past Tommy Nappier at the last second of the first period as the Nittany Lions took a dominant 2-0 lead over the Buckeyes into the first intermission.
The domination by the Nittany Lions continued in the second period as they made it 3-0 with 5:08 remaining in the period thanks to a power play goal by right wing Brandon Biro.
Ohio State took another big blow a few minutes later as the Buckeyes’ top defenseman Sasha Larocque was ejected from the game midway through the second period for contact to the head.
The Buckeyes thought they had gotten on the board with 2:24 remaining in the second period on an apparent goal by junior forward Tanner Laczynski, but the call was overturned after video review due to an offsides call.
Ohio State would get a power play opportunity before the end of the second period, but they were unable to convert as Penn State took a commanding 3-0 lead into the second intermission, winning shots on goal 14-9 in the second period.
Penn State would seal their victory with another goal in the third period as right wing Nate Sucese put one past Tommy Nappier for the Nittany Lions’ fourth goal of the game with 17:38 remaining in the period.
The Buckeyes would get on the board on a goal by left wing John Wiitala with 4:22 remaining in the third period to avoid a shutout, but the Nittany Lions would score a fifth and final time on an empty netter with 47 seconds remaining to take a 5-1 victory over the Buckeyes and advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship game against Notre Dame.
Ohio State will now wait until next Sunday, March 24th to find out where they will be seeded in the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes certainly have a strong resume as they captured the 2018-19 Big Ten regular season title and are determined to make it to back-to-back Frozen Fours for the first time in program history.
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