Penn State Hockey: 3 Takeaways from Penn States' Series vs Ohio State

By Jacob Cheris on November 10, 2021 at 8:00 am
Penn State goaltender Oskar Autio slides across to deny Niagara's Jason Pineo at Pegula Ice Arena
Penn State Athletics

No.19 Penn State got its first crack at conference play this past weekend, taking on the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Nittany Lions, unfortunately, failed to carry the momentum they had in their upset win against North Dakota, and take it into Ohio. They were swept for the first time this season. Here are three things that we noticed in the series. 

1. Fast starts

Penn State scored first in both games of this series. Once from Kevin Wall and the other from Connor MacEachern. Those were the only two goal scorers in the entire series. The Nittany Lions are now outscoring teams 12-3 in the first period, and are 6-2-0 when drawing first blood. 

Scoring first is supposed to set the tone for the rest of the game, but the Nittany Lions could not hold onto their leads. It is going to be critical for them to get out to a fast start against a high powered Wolverines squad this week. 

2. Connor MacEachern remains red hot

MacEachern scored twice in this series, adding to his career high six goals. His quick and accurate shot is what's leading him to his recent success. The third-year center also has tallies in his last three contests. 

MacEachern says that his shot is a big part of his game. What I noticed is he has a similar shooting style to Toronto Maple Leafs forward, Auston Matthews. 

"It's something that I have been working on since I was like eight or ten years old. I was always shooting outside in the driveway or on the road," MacEachern said.

Both players shoot the puck off of a toe drag. Here is a video of both players, and watch how they bring their sticks into their bodies just before they release the puck.

It is hard for a goalie to stop because of how deceptive the shot is. Now, here is a replay of Matthews doing a similar shot.

3. unable to play a full 60 minutes

A hockey game is 60 minutes. Once the Buckeyes got on the scoresheet, the Nittany Lions simply could not slow down the Ohio State offense. 

"When we played in Nashville, we showed a lot of mental toughness and grit and being able to finish off the game," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "We implemented certain things that were team based that I guess you could say that we didn't do well at Ohio State."

After Wall's goal in Game 1, the Buckeyes scored five unanswered goals and Penn State simply didn't have a response. All of those goals happened in a matter of eight minutes. Despite outshooting the Buckeyes 35-27, most of the shots were either from the perimeter or blocked. 

In Game 2, Penn State played a really good first two periods, but once Mason Lohrei got Ohio State on the board, they scored three unanswered goals. The Nittany Lions were outshot 13-9 in the third period. 

Penn State will play host to No.2 Michigan at home. Michigan has four out of the top five 2021 NHL draft picks, so this is going to be a huge test for a young Nittany Lions squad.