Dec. 29, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s hockey team, behind points from 14 players, skated to a 7-2 victory over Mercyhurst Sunday in Value City Arena. The win gives the Buckeyes (10-6, 0-2-0 B1G) a two-game sweep of the Lakers (9-9-2, 7-1-1 AHA) after a 6-3 Ohio State victory Saturday.
Despite giving up a goal in the first minute of the game, Ohio State led 3-1 after the first 20 minutes on the strength of two goals in the last minute of the period. The Buckeyes netted the only goal of the second to carry a 4-1 lead into the third. Ohio State scored three times in less than four minutes to extend the lead to 7-1 at 10:36 of the third and the Lakers scored in the final second of the game for the 7-2 final.
Junior leading scorer Ryan Dzingel paced Ohio State with three assists and points, while freshmen David Gust and Nick Schilkey and junior Nick Oddo each had two points on a goal and an assist and freshman goalie Christian Freyhad a career-high 31 saves. The Buckeyes put a Value City Arena record 56 shots on net, the first time the team had 50 or more shots since Dec. 3, 2005. The 13 goals scored by the Buckeyes in the series sweep were the most for the squad in a two-game set since downing Bentley, 10-1 and 3-2 in overtime, Dec. 12-13, 2008.
“It wasn’t the start we wanted giving up a goal early on, but we answered the bell,” Steve Rohlik, Ohio State head coach, said. “I challenged the team after two periods to play the game the right way and we responded in the third.”
Ohio State is off this upcoming weekend before hosting Michigan State in the first of nine Big Ten Conference series to close the regular season. The Buckeyes and Spartans will meet at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10 and 7:05 p.m. Jan. 11 in Value City Arena.
“Michigan State is a good team that just beat Michigan and beat Minnesota in a shootout, so they’ve played the best teams and done well,” Rohlik said. “We’re going to have to play our best game to beat them. You have to bring your `A’ game every time out in the Big Ten.”
Daniel Bahntge scored for Mercyhurst just 18 seconds into the game but Gust tied the contest less than two minutes later, taking a pass from Oddo and waiting out the goalie before scoring at 2:02. Gust has a goal in each of his last three games and is on a four-game point streak. The Buckeyes then scored twice in 32 seconds in the final minute of the period. Senior Alex Szczechura put in the rebound of a shot from freshman Drew Brevig at 19:18 to give Ohio State a 2-1 lead and Gust found Oddo at the far post, who redirected the puck into the goal at 19:50 for a 3-1 Buckeye advantage. Junior Tanner Fritz had the second assist on Szczechura’s goal, while sophomore Anthony Grecopicked up the second helper on Oddo’s tally. Ohio State outshot Mercyhurst, 23-12, in the period.
The Buckeyes scored the only goal of the second period. Dzingel won a faceoff deep in the Laker zone and passed to Schilkey across the crease, who was able to score at 6:40. Each team had 14 shots in the period and Mercyhurst had its only power play of the game.
Ohio State scored the first three goals of the third period. Curtis Gedig scored his first goal of the season on the power play at 6:50, assisted by junior Max McCormick and Dzingel. Chad Niddery tallied on a rebound just 43 seconds later, assisted by junior Matt Johnson and sophomore Tyler Lundey and at 10:36 senior Alex Lippincottnetted his first goal of the year, with Schilkey and Dzingel picking up the assists. Matthew Zay scored for Mercyhurst with one second remaining for the 7-2 final. Ohio State outshot Mercyhurst, 19-7, in the period and had three power play chances in the stanza.
For the game, Ohio State outshot Mercyhurst, 56-33. Frey had 31 saves in 59:47 for the Buckeyes. Jordan Tibbett started the game for the Lakers and played the first 47:42, allowing six goals and making 40 saves. Spencer Bacon closed out the game and had nine saves on 10 shots.
The Buckeyes were 1-for-3 on the power play in the game and Mercyhurst did not convert its only power play chance. Ohio State has at least one power play goal in each of its last four games (7-for-16, 43.7%). Ohio State had just one penalty in each game vs. the Lakers.
Dzingel had his eight-game goal-scoring streak ended but moved his point streak to nine, with nine goals, seven assists and 16 points in the stretch. He leads the Big Ten with 23 points this season, ranking ninth nationally with 1.44 points per game. It was his second career three-assist night and first since March 17 vs. Ferris State.
McCormick is second on the squad with 18 points and is on a five-game point streak (2g, 4a, 6p). Fritz (3g, 14a) and Szczechura (5g, 12a) are tied for third with 17 assists each. Fritz has at least one point in each of his last five games. Oddo had a career-high 14 points this season and had five points in the series vs. Mercyhurst with a goal and four assists. Schilkey had a goal and an assist in each game vs. Mercyhurst and leads the Buckeye rookies with 11 points on six goals and five assists.
Ohio State is averaging 3.94 goals a game to tie for second in the NCAA in scoring offense. The team has three or more goals in all but two games this season. The seven goals vs. Mercyhurst were the most for the squad since scoring eight March 6, 2010 vs. Notre Dame.