COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s hockey team fell on the road to No. 18 Western Michigan, 4-2, Friday in Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich. The Buckeyes, now 12-9-1 on the year (7-7-1-1 CCHA), and Broncos (12-6-5, 6-5-4-3 CCHA) will close out the series at 7:35 p.m. Saturday in Kalamazoo.
The Buckeyes trailed 1-0 after the first period and 2-0 early in the second. Later in the middle stanza Ohio State cut the lead to one (2-1) on Alex Szczechura’s power-play goal, but the Broncos responded less than two minutes later to regain a two-goal edge, which they carried into the third. In the third John Albert scored shorthanded to make it a 3-2 Western Michigan lead. The Broncos sealed the win with an empty-net goal in the final minute, as WMU extended its unbeaten streak to six (5-0-1) and Ohio State ended its winning streak at six.
Western led 1-0 after the first period on a goal from Ian Slater at 2:04, following a Buckeye turnover. Shots were 10-7 in favor of the Broncos in the period, with Ohio State 0-for-1 on the only power play of the stanza.
The Broncos led 3-1 after 40 minutes. Just 55 seconds into the second period, Shane Berschbach extended the lead to 2-0. At 13:16 Buckeye freshman Szczechura, whose brother Paul played for the Broncos from 2004-07, tallied his seventh goal of the season. His classmates Travis Statchuk and Curtis Gedig assisted on the power-play tally, which he scored from just outside the slot. Western Michigan responded less than two minutes later when Chase Balisy scored from in close at 14:54. Western Michigan goalie Jerry Kuhn had 14 saves in the period, as the Buckeyes outshot the Broncos, 15-8.
Just 5:05 into the third period Albert drew the Buckeyes within one (3-2). With the Buckeyes shorthanded he drove down the left side. His pass to Peter Boyd was redirected by the Bronco defenseman and into the net for the Buckeyes’ first shorthanded tally of the season. Ohio State had chances as time wound down but could get no closer. The Broncos sealed the win on an empty-net goal from Balisy with 37 seconds remaining. Shots were 12-10 in favor of Ohio State in the period. The Buckeye penalty kill was 2-for-2 in the stanza.
For the game, Ohio State outshot Western Michigan, 34-28. Buckeye junior goalie Cal Heeter made 26 saves in 58:47. Kuhn had 32 stops in 60 minutes for the Broncos.
Ohio State was 1-for-3 on the power play and held the Broncos scoreless on three chances. Postgame Notes Albert now leads the Buckeyes with 24 points, including 10 goals. He is on a seven-game point streak (5-5-10).
Szczechura is first for the Buckeye rookies with 13 points.
The Buckeyes allowed more than three goals for the first time since Nov. 27.
Ohio State has power-play goals in the last three games.