Ohio State ousts Penn State from Big Ten hockey tourney

Gregg Krupa
The Detroit News
Ohio State’s Darik Angeli keeps the puck away from Penn State's Nate Jensen in the second period.

Detroit — A briskly played game between Ohio State and Penn State Thursday kicked off the Big Ten men's hockey tournament at Joe Louis Arena, with the Buckeyes prevailing, 3-1.

The Buckeyes got goals from some unexpected sources, such as defenseman Justin DaSilva, who scored his second of the year for the winning goal.

"It's what I've envisioned for this team," Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik said. "We've had 27 guys pitch in all year and, you know, we're starting to get health here.

"We're not just depending on one or two guys. We've got a lot of unsung guys."

Ohio State moves on to face Minnesota at 4:30 p.m. Friday for the chance to play for the championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

"This is kind of what we're expecting, right now," said Nick Schilkey, a sophomore who opened the scoring with his 10th goal of the season, and 23rd of his career.

Schilkey is from Marysville.

"There is still room for improvement," he said. "We got sloppy at times when we talked about turnovers at the blue line. We made a couple of those, but we played well. We've got room for improvement, and that's what we'll have to do for tomorrow."

Despite being out-shot 11-7 in the first period, Ohio State scored twice.

After Buckeyes goalie Christian Frey stopped six consecutive Penn State shots, Schilkey scored at 8:01.

Sophomore David Gust assisted on the play.

Schilkey said it was terrific to play in Joe Louis Arena, after growing up in St. Clair County.

"It's fun," he said. "I played here a couple times with Little Caesars growing up, it's always good to be back home playing in front of friends and family. Just try to embrace it and have fun out there."

No penalties were called in the game, which was played before only about 200-300 people.

It was not a good turnout, in Detroit, for the second Big Ten hockey tournament, in history.

Despite being out 11-7 in the first period, Ohio State scored twice.

After Buckeyes goalie Christian Frey stopped six consecutive Penn State shots, Schilkey scored at 8:01 on the first Ohio State shot of the game.

Sophomore David Gust assisted on the play.

Then, at 14:13, after Penn State continued to carry much of the play, senior defenseman Justin DaSilva scooped up a back-pass from senior captain Tanner Fritz and buried a wrist shot from 25 feet under the crossbar behind Penn State goalie Eamon McAdam.

McAdam, down to his knees too early, and a bit back in the crease, gave himself little chance on the goal.

"I was at the end of the shift, and I saw them changing," DaSilva said. "So I decided to jump up as quick as I could.

"Fritzy left a nice little gift for me there, and I don't think the goalie really saw it. Their defenseman tried to block it, so it was set up for me and I was fortunate to put it in."

Penn State, playing in only its third season of intercollegiate hockey, after skating a team for a few years in the 1940s, finished in fourth place in the Big Ten regular season.

The Nittany Lions scored at 9:38 of the first period, with Max Gardiner converting a pass from Tommy Olczyk, the son of former NHL player Ed Olczyk, now an NBC broadcaster.

"Actually, Tommy Olczyk made a real nice play there," Gardiner said. "Tommy picked off a pass and made a nice pass to me."

"Luckily enough it went in."

David Gust added the final goal for Ohio State, a bit of a back-breaker with one minute remaining in the second period, to restore the two-goal lead and end the scoring.

Penn State coach Guy Gadowski said his roster was banged up.

"You know, you look at the game and you certainly wouldn't think it was one of our best performances," Gadowski said. "But, I'll tell you what, it was definitely one of our greatest.

"We had a couple of guys that probably shouldn't have played at all and really gritted it out."

As for the fairly remarkable matter of no penalties called in a tournament hockey game, Rohlik said it was not for a lack of aggressive play.

"Both teams played hard," he said. "There were some big hits out there.

"I thought the refs did a nice job of letting the game play out."