Men's hockey season ends in Big Ten quarterfinals

March 19, 2015

DETROIT -- The historic 2014-15 Penn State men's hockey season came to an end Thursday against Ohio State, 3-1, in the Big Ten Quarterfinals at Joe Louis Arena. Redshirt-senior Max Gardiner (Deephaven, Minn.) ended his collegiate career with Penn State's lone goal.

"You know, you look at the game and you certainly wouldn't think it was one of our best performances, but I tell you what? It was definitely one of our grittiest," Head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "We had a couple of guys that probably shouldn't have played at all and really gritted it out. I know it's not the result we wanted, but I tell you what, when these guys especially this senior class looks back at what they accomplished while they've been here and especially this season, I think they're going to be very proud."

Penn State (18-15-4), the No. 4 seed, played with several members of its team on the mend and lost a pair of defensemen during the course of play. Nevertheless, Penn State nearly took an early 1-0 lead after only four minutes as redshirt-junior forward Eric Scheid (Blaine, Minn.) had a breakaway stopped by Ohio State (14-18-3) netminder Christian Frey.

Penn State took the game's first seven shots, but Ohio State's first of the game would find the back of the net. Nick Schilkey broke free behind the Penn State defense to score the game's opening goal with 11:59 remaining in the first. A puck hit a linesman and fell to the Buckeyes, who capitalized on the fortunate bounce.

The Buckeyes would double the lead as Justin DaSilva uncorked a slapshot from the high slot with 5:47 remaining in the period. The Nittany Lions held an 11-7 edge in shot attempts through the opening 20 minutes.

The second period saw the shot count tilt Ohio State's way, but Penn State had the best scoring chances. Taylor Holstrom (Yorba Linda, Calif.) nearly scored with 15:41 left in the second, ringing the left post. Holstrom made his gutsy return to the ice after a four-game absence from a nearly season-ending injury suffered Feb. 28 at Ohio State.

Goaltender Eamon McAdam (Perkasie, Pa.) was called upon to make a pair of saves midway through the period that set up Penn State's only goal. McAdam finished with 26 saves.

McAdam flung the puck down the ice on a clearance and the Buckeyes turned it over as Tommy Olczyk (Long Grove, Ill.) was there for the center ice interception. Olczyk set Gardiner up on the left-wing, Zach Saar (Richland Mich.) drove the net and Gardiner sniped his fifth goal of the season over Frey's right shoulder with 10:22 left.

Four minutes later, Penn State's momentum led to a pair of chances by Casey Bailey (Anchorage, Alaska) and David Goodwin (Des Peres, Mo.) on the right post that Frey was able to smack away.

Penn State's hard work was undone when David Gust accepted a stretch pass from Sam Jardine and beat McAdam with one minute left in the second period for a 3-1 lead.

Penn State pressed in the third to reduce the lead and despite a 13-6 shot margin, the Nittany Lions couldn't inch closer.

For the game, Penn State out-shot the Buckeyes 32-29 and neither team committed a penalty. The only other time PSU played a game without committing a penalty was a 3-0 loss on Jan. 17, 2014 to Michigan State.

The Nittany Lions blocked 15 shots in the game, while the Buckeyes had 17 of their own. PSU's defense was led by Connor Varley (Lansdale, Pa.) and Mike Williamson (Leduc, Alberta) with four blocks apiece. Williamson had to leave the game early due to injury.

Penn State won the faceoff battle, 33-24, with David Glen (Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta) posting the best mark, 10-5. Holstrom was 9-6 and Gardiner went 5-3.

GAME NOTES
• Penn State fell to 1-4-0 against the Buckeyes this season and ended the season on a three-game skid.

• The Nittany Lions dropped to 0-7-0 when scoring one goal or less this season. Penn State scored only three goals in the last three games combined, the fewest total in any three-game stretch in the 2014-15 seaosn.

• Gardiner's goal represented Penn State's fourth in the Big Ten Tournament. The four goals have been scored by four different Nittany Lions.

• Ohio State moves on to play No. 1 seed Minnesota on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

NEXT TIME OUT
Penn State's season concludes with an 18-15-4 record, doubling its win total from last season. The Nittany Lions will open the 2015-16 season in October. The non-conference and Big Ten schedules will be announced in the coming months. Penn State will host 18 regular-season home games at Pegula Ice Arena in 2015-16. 

Last Updated March 19, 2015