No. 12 Ohio State travels to State College, Pennsylvania, this weekend to conclude its season series with Penn State.
The Buckeyes (18-7-1) swept the Nittany Lions (14-12) Nov. 5-6, 2021, in Columbus, winning 5-2 and 4-1, respectively. Penn State has a record of 5-11 against Big Ten teams this season, but Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik knows the Nittany Lions are more than the standings suggest.
“I think they’re as good as anybody in our league,” Rohlik said. “They’re playing really well. They’re a really good hockey team — we have a lot of respect for them.”
The Nittany Lions are led by junior forward Kevin Wall, who has produced team-highs in points with 25 and goals with 14 this season. Forwards junior Connor MacEachern and senior Ben Copeland follow suit with 22 and 21 points, respectively. Copeland leads the Nittany Lions with 16 assists.
In goal for Penn State is senior Oskar Autio, who allows 2.92 goals per game and boasts a save percentage of .899.
Penn State defends home ice well, holding an 8-6 record at home — including two straight home wins against Wisconsin Friday and Saturday.
Graduate forward Eric Cooley knows the environment Penn State brings, but said he and his teammates are ready for two more tough road games following last weekend in East Lansing, Michigan.
“It’s a fun arena, great fans and stuff like that,” Cooley said. “We’re doing the same thing this week, preparing hard, and we’re ready for two hard games coming up.”
Senior forward Gustaf Westlund echoed Cooley’s message of not reinventing the wheel, noting Penn State has played almost the same way each time he’s faced them.
“I feel like they play the same way of hockey every year,” Westlund said. “You have the blueprints, but it’s a game of hockey — anything can happen.”
Ohio State and Penn State face off both Friday and Saturday at Pegula Ice Arena in State College, Pennsylvania. Both games will air on Big Ten Network Plus at 7 p.m.