Penn State and Ohio State duked it out on Friday in a back-and-forth game that featured an incredible buzzer-beater. The Nittany Lions, desperate for a statement win over a top team, took a comfortable lead early but an offensive eruption by the Buckeyes gave them the game's dying moments. Andrew Sturtz’s goal with 0.7 seconds left tied things at five, where they’d stay until Penn State won in a shootout.
Ohio State looked like the better team in the opening minutes, despite taking an early penalty and giving Penn State a man-advantage. The Buckeyes’ top-ranked penalty killing unit held strong, but soon after getting their man out of the box, a shot from Kris Myllari deflected over Sean Romeo’s shoulder and into the net. Penn State strung together a few good shifts but was still outshot heavily in the period. Christian Lampasso tied the game late and the teams took a 1-1 tie into intermission.
Penn State started the second period with a powerplay but once again, Ohio State killed it off. Five minutes in, Alex Limoges had the forecheck of a lifetime to steal the puck right in front of Romeo. Limoges beat him in the one-on-one and gave his team a 2-1 lead. Towards the end of the period, Kevin Kerr scored his first of the year from the point and doubled Penn State’s lead. Funkey continued the great start to his game as he shut out the Buckeyes in the period.
His great game turned into a nightmare at the start of the third, as Ohio State picked apart the defense and Funkey himself. Three goals in the first half of the period turned the 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 win, but Trevor Hamilton broke the streak with a snipe from the point with seven minutes to go. Ohio State retook the lead two minutes later, but the wild period wasn’t over. The clock hit double-zeroes when Andrew Sturtz fired a wrister from the point and tied the game at 5-5.
Penn State looked like the better team in overtime but couldn’t finish any of its chances. The game came down to a shootout and (who else) Sturtz scored on the first shot, which proved to be the winner. Chris Funkey stopped Jobst, Weis, and Laczynski with ease, earning his team two points in the Big Ten standings.
- A technical thing on the result of this game: For NCAA purposes, this was a tie, and for Big Ten purposes, Penn State got two points while Ohio State earned one.
- Chris Funkey got the start instead of Peyton Jones, which paid off at first. Once he was shaken at the start of the third, he had probably the first bad streak of his Penn State career. There’s no reason not to trust him as a backup, but it’s too bad that one of the steadiest players on the team was exposed in this one. He played well when it mattered most though and should get a lot of credit for his shootout play.
- One of the rarest things in sports happened tonight: Penn State was outshot in a hockey game. The Buckeyes peppered Funkey with 48 shots to Penn State’s 36. In that sense, Funkey outplayed one of the best goalies in college hockey.
- Kevin Kerr has been in and out of the lineup for almost a year now and scored his first goal of the season tonight. He’s a major calming presence on the blueline and it’s nice to see him get involved in the offense.
- The series finale is at 4 p.m. Saturday. It’s an early start to avoid conflict with the Big Ten Championship. Tune into BTN2Go and follow along with us for coverage.