Frozen Four Bound Buckeyes
The Ohio State men’s hockey team will compete in the 2018 NCAA Frozen Four next week, marking the second appearance in the national semifinals for the program and the first since 1998.
Ohio State, a No. 1 seed, will take on No. 3 seed Minnesota Duluth at 6 p.m. ET April 5 in the first semifinal, followed by a game between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Michigan at 9:30 p.m. ET. The championship game is set for 7:30 p.m. April 7. ESPN2 will televise all three games.
— Ohio State Men's Hockey (@OhioStateMHKY) March 29, 2018
Buckeyes and Bulldogs
– Ohio State is 4-3-1 all-time vs. Minnesota Duluth. The squads also met in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, when they faced off in the NCAA West Regional semifinals in Fargo, N.D. The Buckeyes overcame a 2-0 deficit but the Bulldogs prevailed in overtime, 3-2.
– The squads first met in the St. Louis Tournament Dec. 29, 1974, a 3-3 tie. They then faced off in Duluth Dec. 19, 1979, a 6-1 Ohio State victory. In Columbus, the teams met in the 2006 Ohio Hockey Classic in Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus, a 4-1 Buckeye win.
– Each team hosted a series on its home ice recently, splitting both series. The teams met in Duluth Oct. 12-13, 2012, with a 6-2 UMD win and 3-2 Ohio State victory. In Columbus Nov. 1-2, 2013, the Bulldogs won game one 3-1 and Ohio State claimed game two, 4-2.
– Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik, in his fifth season at the helm of the Buckeyes and his eight year at Ohio State, spent 10 years on the coaching staff of the Bulldogs (2001-10).
Brett Larson, an assistant coach for the Bulldogs, spent two years as an assistant coach on the Ohio State staff under Rohlik before returning to his alma mater for the 2015-16 campaign.
— Ohio State Men's Hockey (@OhioStateMHKY) March 30, 2018
Midwest Regional Recap
Ohio State posted two wins in Allentown, Pa., last weekend, the first wins for the program in the NCAA Tournament since 1998.
The Buckeyes took on Princeton in the regional semifinal Saturday, winning 4-2. Ohio State scored twice in 20 seconds in the first period, with Mason Jobst and Kevin Miller converting. There was no scoring in the second period. In the third, Tanner Laczynski and Freddy Gerard scored in the first 11 minutes for a 4-0 Ohio State lead. Princeton tallied twice in the final 26 seconds for the 4-2 final.
Ohio State faced defending NCAA champion Denver for a spot in the Frozen Four Sunday. After a scoreless first period, the Buckeyes’ Dakota Joshua and Miller scored in the second for a 2-0 Buckeye lead heading into the third. Matt Joyaux tallied at 9:27 of the third for a 3-0 Ohio State advantage. The Pioneers got on the board less than two minutes later, but Ohio State answered 30 seconds after that with Miller’s second goal of the night. Denver pulled its goalie with more than five minutes remaining and Jobst took advantage for a fifth Buckeye goal.
— Tim Adams (@t_j_adams) March 28, 2018
The Buckeyes were 1-for-6 on the power play in the regional (with all six chances vs. Princeton) and 8-for-9 on the penalty kill, with the only goal allowed in the final minute of regulation vs. the Tigers.
On the Stat Sheet
The Buckeyes are one of two teams in the nation who rank in the Top 10 in scoring offense, scoring defense, power play and penalty killing, joining Minnesota State.
Ohio State is first nationally on the PK (.893), third in goals allowed per game (2.08), seventh on the power play (.239) and 10th in goals per game (3.25). The squad is third with 26 wins and fourth with a .712 winning percentage.
The Buckeyes have two 40-point scorers – Tanner Laczynski (46) and Mason Jobst (43). Six Buckeyes have double-digit goals, led by Jobst with 21, followed by Laczynski (16), Dakota Joshua(15), Matthew Weis (12), Freddy Gerard (12) and Christian Lampasso (10). Ten Buckeyes have 10+ assists. Laczynski is first with 30, followed by Weis (who is out with injury) with 25 and Jobst with 22.
DYK: The #FrozenFour bound Buckeyes rank in the Top ? in @NCAAIceHockey in:
? Penalty Killing – 1st/89.3%
? Scoring Defense – 3rd/2.08 gapg
? Power Play – 7th/23.9%
? Scoring Offense – 10th/3.25 gpg#GoBucks pic.twitter.com/X42kwqFtuv
— Ohio State Men's Hockey (@OhioStateMHKY) March 28, 2018
In the Rankings
Ohio State moved up to No. 2 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll this week. It matches the team high in the poll, set in January 2012 and October 2005.
— Ohio State Men's Hockey (@OhioStateMHKY) March 27, 2018
The squad was ranked fifth in the USCHO (and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine) poll entering the NCAA Tournament. There is no new USCHO poll this week.
Buckeyes By the Numbers
• Ohio State is second nationally in third period goals (60) and third period goals per game (1.5). The squad shares the NCAA lead with a +30 goal margin in the third period.
• When entering the third period with the lead, the Buckeyes have an 18-0-1 record this year. When the teams are deadlocked heading into the third, Ohio State has a 7-0-3 ledger.
• The Buckeyes are 19-0-3 when scoring first this season (7-9-2 when allowing the first goal). The team is 16-0-0 when leading after the first 20 minutes.
Special Special Teams
Ohio State has led the NCAA on the penalty kill for most of the season. The squad is 125-for-140, stopping 89.3 percent of its opponent chances. Last season, the Buckeyes were 120-for-161 (.745) on the PK.
The team was first nationally on the power play a season ago, converting 31.6 percent of its chances (49-for-155). This year, the team is seventh nationally, scoring 37 goals on 155 power play chances. Since starting the year 0-for-20 through their first four games, the Buckeyes are 37-for-135 with the man advantage (.274), ranking third nationally since Oct. 19.
• The Buckeyes rank third nationally in scoring defense, allowing 2.08 goals per game. The squad has held teams to two or fewer goals in 25 of 40 games this year, including in 10 of the last 12 outings.
• The team gave up three goals in the NCAA Midwest Regional (two to Princeton, one to Denver), the 10th time this season the squad has given up three or fewer goals in a two-game weekend.
• The lowest team goals-against average in program history was set in 2002-03, when the squad gave up 2.21 goals a game.
• Last season, the Buckeyes allowed 2.9 goals per outing.
On the Offense
• Ohio State is 10th nationally in scoring offense, with 3.25 goals per game.
• This is the fourth year in five seasons under Coach Rohlik the squad is averaging 3+ goals a game.
• The Buckeyes have three or more goals in 18 of the last 23 games and 27 games overall with three or more tallies.
• The team was third in the NCAA a season ago, scoring 3.92 goals per night.
The Buckeyes, Minnesota and the Xcel Energy Center, Home of the 2018 Frozen Four
– Three current Buckeyes call Minnesota home – junior forward John Wiitala is from Lakeville and played for Lakeville South, while his classmate Miguel Fidler (who is redshirting this season) is from Edina and won Minnesota state tournament titles with Edina High School in 2013 and `14. Wyatt Ege, a sophomore transfer, hails from Elk River and graduated from Elk River High School.
– Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik is a Saint Paul native and graduate of Hill-Murray High School. Rohlik served as the head coach at his alma mater, as well as spent a year coaching at Stillwater High School, before joining the collegiate coaching ranks full time. As a coach, Rohlik led Hill-Murray to two state tournament appearances, including a runner-up finish in 1993.
– Dustin Carlson, a Buckeye from 2008-11 who is now the team’s volunteer coach, is a native of Forest Lake, Minn.
– Ohio State is 3-3 all-time in Xcel Energy Center. The squad first played in the arena Oct. 12, 2002, a 7-2 loss to Minnesota in the Hall of Fame Game. The Buckeyes were 2-1 at the venue in the 2014 Big Ten Tournament, defeating Michigan State (2-1 OT) and Minnesota (3-1) before falling to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament championship game in overtime (5-4). In the 2016 Big Ten Tournament in Saint Paul, Ohio State was 1-1, with a 4-3 OT win vs. the Spartans and 4-2 loss to the Gophers in the semifinals.