Hockey: Ohio drops two to Nittany Lions, sets eyes on tourney

Ohio junior forward Brett Agnew takes a shot. The Bobcats beat the Oakland Grizzlies 6-0 on Jan. 26. (Arielle Berger | For The Post)

In four minutes, a person could run a mile, recite the lyrics to Outkast’s “Hey Ya” or microwave a Lean Cuisine meal.

In less than four minutes Friday — three minutes and 46 seconds to be exact — Penn State scored four goals and put the contest against Ohio out of reach en route to a 6-1 victory.

Goalie Matt Michno, a graduate student, was pulled after the barrage of goals from Kenny Brooks, Casey Bailey, Mark Yanis and Michael Longo that  turned a one-goal game into a five-goal game in a matter of minutes. Freshman Aaron Alkema replaced Michno, stopping all ten shots that he saw, but the damage was already done.

Ohio senior forward Nick Rostek opened the scoring for the game with a goal at the 13:51 mark of the first period, but coach Dan Morris said that his team had issues responding to a crowd of 6,107 people in Hershey, Pa., and the pressure of playing an NCAA Division I opponent.

“We got overwhelmed and couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Morris said. “It was that quick that the game changed and we didn’t respond well to the moment. … After that early goal, we still weren’t comfortable that we were capable of beating them. We were waiting for them to take control of the game and we let that happen.”

“We had that five minute lapse where we broke down and stopped doing what made us successful in the first period,” junior forward Brett Agnew said. “We had some bad plays and bad turnovers, and good teams make you pay for bad turnovers.”

On Saturday, the action moved to Penn State’s campus in University Park, Pa., and the Bobcats responded much better to the speed and physicality of their opponent, though falling in defeat 5-3.

Ohio once again jumped ahead quickly, with freshman defenseman Derek Rahme scoring less than two minutes into the game. The Nittany Lions responded with two goals of their own to bring the score to 2-1 after the first period.

The Bobcats replied in the second with a power play goal from senior captain Tyler Pilmore and took a 3-2 lead 38 seconds into the third period on a breakaway goal by Agnew.

The lead wouldn’t hold as Penn State scored three goals, including an empty net goal, in the final 10:33 of the game. Morris said that his team competed hard for the whole game, but just didn’t have enough “gas” for the final 10 minutes.

“We played especially well and carried play for the majority of the game,” he said. “We physically hit a wall at the 50 minute mark … We asked a lot of our players and they gave a lot, but it was maybe 10 minutes short.”

Despite the loss, the team was pleased with its effort and will look to build on Saturday’s performance with the Central States Collegiate Hockey League tournament looming in two weeks.

“Everyone wasn’t happy with the result, but happy with how we played,” Agnew said. “Moving forward with the rest of the season, I think we can just build on it, just knowing that we have a very good team here and there’s no one we can’t play with.”

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