Evidently the long layoff doused the red-hot Penn State men’s hockey team.
After 34 days without a game, the No. 2 Nittany Lions could not find the net at all Friday night at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio, falling 3-0 to No. 11 Ohio State.
It was Penn State’s first game since Dec. 2, when the Lions finished roasting Michigan in a two-game series.
The blanking ended the nation’s longest win streak at 11 games and the longest unbeaten streak at 13. Penn State (13-2-1, 2-1 Big Ten) had not lost since Oct. 7 against St. Lawrence. The game also was the team’s first road game since Oct. 22.
The Nittany Lions’ season low for goals in a game before Friday was three. Penn State had not been held scoreless for an entire period since Oct. 22 at Notre Dame, and had just three scoreless periods in regulation all season.
That total was doubled in the team’s first shutout loss in nearly two years, dating back to March 2015.
Peyton Jones made 18 saves in the loss, while his counterpart Christian Frey stopped all 46 shots he faced.
Drew Brevig, Luke Stork and John Wiitala took care of the scoring for the Buckeyes (10-3-4, 2-1).
Brevig opened the scoring, firing a shot through traffic from the point that beat Jones. Stork made it 2-0 in the final minute of the second, pouncing on the puck right off a draw in the Penn State end. Wiitala closed the scoring with just under two minutes left, hitting an empty net.
It appeared Dylan Richard gave the Nittany Lions an early lead, but his first-period score redirecting an Andrew Sturtz feed was disallowed, with the officials ruling Richard kicked the puck into the net.
Notes: The teams meet again at 8 p.m. Saturday. … Freshman forward Brett Murray, who joined Penn State during the winter break, did not play. … The game marked just the second time all season the Lions trailed after the first period. The other was Oct. 7 loss to St. Lawrence. … The game drew 4,225 to the 17,500-seat arena. … Entering as the nation’s top teams on faceoffs, winning 57.1 percent of the time, Penn State lost in draws 31-28. … The Lions fell to 1-4 in their first game after the holiday break.