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GAME DAY CENTRAL
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INSIDE THE NUMBERS
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Penn State Nittany Lions put their four-game unbeaten streak on the line as they travel to 11th-ranked Ohio State for a Big Ten Conference weekend series on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. Both games will be available on BTN-Plus.
THIS WEEK’S MATCHUP
- Penn State travels to Ohio State for its final conference series of the first semester of play as they battle the Buckeys on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m.
- This marks the 19th and 20th meetings all-time between the two schools with Ohio State holding the 11-6-1 record including a 2-1-1 record last season as the Buckeys took 8-of-12 possible points from the Nittany Lions during the 2016-17 campaign.
- Juniors Andrew Sturtz (3-2-5) and Chase Berger (2-3-5) lead the team with five career points against Ohio State while classmate Alec Marsh has also added three goals in his career against the Buckeyes.
- After a poor 0-4 start at Value City Arena where they were outscored 20-9, the Nittany Lions are 2-2 over the past two seasons in Columbus, but are being outscored 32-17 in eight games all-time at Value City Arena.
- The Nittany Lions are currently riding a four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) where they are outscoring their opponents 20-6 including a pair of seven-goal outbursts.
SCOUTING OHIO STATE
- Ohio State enters the weekend ranked No. 11 in the latest uscho.com poll with an 8-3-3 record and a 3-3-0-0 record in the Big Ten for nine points, good for fifth place. The Buckeyes finished last season 21-12-6 overall and 11-8-1 in the Big Ten getting bounced by Minnesota Duluth, 3-2, in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament.
- OSU lost three of its top seven scorers from last season’s roster including a pair of 40-point scorers in Nick Schilkey and David Gust who combined for 45 goals including 26 on the power-play.
- Without the services of Schilkey and Gust the Buckeye power-play has taken a hit early on converting at just 15.5 percent (9-for-58) after leading the entire nation at 31.6 percent (49-for-155) last season.
- Ohio State does return leading scorer Mason Jobst who collected 55 points last season on 19 goals and 36 assists and he currently leads the team this season with seven goals and is second in points with 13. Tanner Laczynski leads the team with 17 points on five goals and 12 assists.
- The Buckeyes are also without the services of all three net-minders who saw action last season including Christian Frey and Matt Tomkins who combined for all 21 victories while sustaining a .910 and .909 save percentage, respectively.
- In net this season has been junior transfer Sean Romeo who has started all but one game and posted a 7-3-3 record with a .931 save percentage and a 1.69 goals against average to rank eighth and fifth in the entire nation, respectively, in each category. His save percentage and GAA are also good for second in the Big Ten behind only Cale Morris of Notre Dame.
- With the power-play struggles, ranked 45th in the nation, the Buckeyes have picked things up on the other end of the spectrum with the nation’s top penalty killing unit only allowing four goals on 51 chances (92.2 percent). The Buckeyes are one of just two teams killing off penalties at over 90 percent as Bemidji State ranks second in the nation right at 90 percent (36-for-40).
- The Buckeyes have only played five times at home so far this season and have had their struggles posting just a 1-2-2 record at Value City Arena while they are 7-1-1 on the road. Ohio State is averaging just 2.00 goals per game at home and 3.11 on the road.
- The defense and goaltending has been what’s led to the early season success for the Buckeyes as they rank second in the nation allowing just 1.93 goals per game.
- Penn State is currently leading the nation in a number of key offensive categories including shots on goal per game (41.69), goals (61), assists (106) and points (167).
- After a rather slow start to the season the offense is averaging 3.81 goals per game, which leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth in the nation.
- Penn State has scored seven goals in a game twice in the last two weekends and four times so far this season after only hitting that mark four times total during 2016-17 in 39 games played.
- Penn State has won each of those games this season and are a perfect 5-0-0 when scoring five or more goals after going a perfect 14-0-0 last season when scoring five-plus goals in a game.
- So far this season the Nittany Lions are 7-0-0 when taking a lead into the third period, but just 1-5-1 when trailing after the first 40 minutes.
- This is due in large part to their 24 second period goals and +7 margin, but also their 18 third period goals scored and allowed.
MOVIN’ ON UP
- Junior Andrew Sturtz is coming off a three-point weekend while his 19 points lead the team and rank third in the Big Ten and tied for seventh nationally.
- Sturtz now has 83 career points to pass Casey Bailey for second on the Penn State all-time points list only trailing David Goodwin ‘17 (128).
- His 83 career points are also tied for the 23rd most out of active NCAA Division I players and the sixth most by anyone in the junior class. Dylan Gambrell of Denver leads all juniors nationally with 106 points.
- Sturtz added a pair of assists this past weekend and is now tied for the team lead with 11 to rank tied for sixth in the Big Ten. His 35 career assists also tie Casey Bailey for tenth on the Penn State all-time assists list and are one back of Vince Pedrie for ninth.
DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME
- Not to be outshined by Sturtz, junior classmate Chase Berger is tied for the team lead with 11 assists and ranks second on the team with 14 points, good for tied tenth in the Big Ten.
- Berger tied his career-high with three assists during last Friday’s 7-2 victory over Michigan State and in doing so moved into second on the all-time assists list passing Dylan Richard ‘17 and Luke Juha ‘16. His 47 career assists rank only behind the 84 of David Goodwin ‘17.
- Berger is also tied with David Glen ‘16 for sixth on the all-time goals list with 29 while his 76 career points are just one shy of tying Eric Scheid ‘16 and Dylan Richard ‘17 for fourth all-time.
HELLO, MY FRIEND, HELLO
- This weekend will serve as a reunion of sorts for sophomore standouts Nikita Pavlychev and Denis Smirnov as they reunite with former Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Knights teammate Eugene Fadyeyev, a freshman at Ohio State.
- The three players were part of a group of European players to join the Knights back in 2011-12 that including current Philadephia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov, the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
- Fadyeyev, Smirnov and Provorov combined for 184 points during that 2011-12 season on 88 goals and 96 assists. Smirnov led the way with 39 goals and 37 assists for 76 points.
- The Quartet stayed together the following season before both Smirnov and Provorov joined the USHL for the 2013-14 season.
- The Nittany Lions went a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill against Michigan State and 7-for-7 the previous weekend against Arizona State. They are 15-for-15 over the last three weekends and 19-for-20 (.950) over their last seven games moving into third in the Big Ten at 84 percent on the season, which ranks 20th nationally.
- After struggling early in the season on defense, Penn State has played well on both sides of the puck over the last four games as the offense is averaging 5.0 goals per game while the defense is only allowing 1.5 to the opposition during this four-game unbeaten streak.
GREEN EGSS AND HAMILTON
- With the goalie pulled for the extra attacker, senior Trevor Hamilton netted the game-tying goal on Saturday night with just 34 seconds remaining in the game.
- The goal was just the first extra attacker goal in the last minute of a game for Penn State since its first Big Ten season when Casey Bailey lit the lamp with just five seconds remaining to force overtime against Michigan on February 21, 2014. Penn State went on to win the game 5-4 thanks to a David Goodwin ‘17 overtime goal at Yost.
- Hamilton also added an assist last weekend and his 36 career points now rank fifth on Penn State’s all-time defenseman scoring list while his 30 assists are good for fifth.
- His 0.55 assists per game as a Nittany Lion is the best ratio for all defensemen in program history while his 0.69 points per game ranks second only behind the 0.73 points per game of Vince Pedrie.
- Penn State currently has four defensemen who each rank in the top-10 of all three offensive categories for defensemen in Penn State history.
- Sophomore Kris Myllari scored his 11th career goal last weekend as he ranks third all-time only behind Vince Pedrie (16) and Luke Juha (15) for career goals by defensemen. Senior classmates Erik Autio and Trevor Hamilton are tied for fourth with eight goals each.
- Autio’s 44 assists are also just one assist shy of tying Juha for first on the all-time list for assists by defensemen with 45. Junior Kevin Kerr (32) and Hamilton (30) rank fourth and fifth, respectively.
- The Finn’s 51 career points are also just one back of Pedrie for second on the all-time defenseman points list and nine shy of Juha’s program record of 60. Again, Hamilton (38) and Kerr (37) rank fourth and fifth, respectively.
- Penn State plays a home and home with Robert Morris traveling to PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh next Friday and returning to Pegula Ice Arena on Saturday to close out the series. Both games are slated for 7 p.m. puck drops.