The Penn State men’s hockey team is skating with a lot more confidence these days.
The Nittany Lions are unbeaten in their last six games and posted a five-point weekend on the road after Saturday evening’s 4-0 shutout of No. 11 Ohio State.
The win comes on the heels of a 5-5 tie, and shootout win for the bonus point in the Big Ten standings, on Friday. Saturday’s win was just the third for the Nittany Lions (9-7-2, 4-4-2-1) in 10 games at Value City Arena, and was their final conference game until January.
Andrew Sturtz, Denis Smirnov, Brandon Biro and Liam Folkes had the Penn State goals.
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Player of the Game
Penn State goalie Peyton Jones: Jones denied all 33 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season and third of his career, matching Matthew Skoff for the program’s career record. Part of his performance was an 18-save second period.
He outdueled Buckeye goalie Sean Romeo, who made 36 saves. Romeo surrendered nine goals on the weekend after entering the series ranked fifth in the nation with a 1.69 goals-against average.
Sturtz started the scoring in the opening moments of the second period, taking Trevor Hamilton’s clearing pass off the glass to break in on Romeo. The junior forward toe-dragged through the slot for a shorthanded goal, his Division I-leading third of the season and extending his program record with the ninth of his career.
Smirnov scored on a power play later in the second for his sixth goal of the season and first since late October. The games against the Buckeyes were the sophomore’s first after missing eight games with an illness.
Biro, who set up Smirnov’s tally, added his own score early in the third with a redirection of a Hamilton feed, and Folkes closed the scoring with 4:38 left by converting an Evan Barratt assist.
Penn State plays the final two games of the 2017 portion of its schedule with a home-and-home series with Robert Morris. The teams tangle Friday night at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, then meet again Saturday at Pegula Ice Arena.