COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s hockey team dropped a 2-0 game to Michigan State Friday in Value City Arena. The Spartans scored in the second period and the lead held, with MSU adding a late shorthanded, empty-net goal. Buckeye goalie Cal Heeter made 23 saves in the effort.
The Buckeyes (13-13-2, 8-11-2-2 CCHA) and Spartans (12-13-4, 8-11-2-0 CCHA) will close out the series at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Value City Arena. It is the Buckeyes’ inaugural Teddy Bear Toss. Fans are encouraged to bring teddy bears to throw on the ice after Ohio State’s first goal. Members of the team will bring the bears to Ronald McDonald House for Valentine’s Day.
The teams were scoreless after the first period. Heeter made nine saves in the Buckeye net, with Will Yanakeff stopping eight Buckeye attempts. The Spartans had the only power play in the stanza.
Michigan State got on the board at 6:04 of the second. Daultan Leveille won the faceoff to the left of the Buckeye net back to Tim Buttery. His shot got through traffic and in for his first goal of the year. Each team had 11 shots on net in the period. Ohio State’s best chance came when John Albert hit the post around the 8 minute mark. Michigan State had two power-play chances, with all but one second of a penalty in the first period carrying into the second stanza. Ohio State had one chance with the man advantage.
The Buckeyes had chances in the third, outshooting the Spartans, 13-5, and going on two power plays, but were unable to tie the game. With time winding down and Ohio State on the power play, Michigan State blocked a shot in the MSU zone. Dustin Gazley led Derek Grant into the Buckeye zone and he scored into the net. Michigan State had one early power-play chance.
Ohio State outshot Michigan State, 32-25, in the game. Heeter played 58:52 with 23 saves and one goal allowed. Yanakeff had 32 stops in 59:34. Ohio State has been shut out two of the last three games and have three goals in their last four games combined.
Neither team was able to score on the power play – Ohio State was 0-for-3 and Michigan State was 0-for-4.
The game was the 150th career contest for seniors Albert, Peter Boyd and Sergio Somma.
Postgame Quotes Mark Osiecki, Ohio State head coach On the game “As the game went on we did a lot of things well. We didn’t score but we played well again.”
On the pressure of scoring “Obviously we are trying to take the pressure off of that. We aren’t the most gifted scoring team as it is. As you go through that scoring drought you just hope it doesn’t last long.”
On both teams’ goalies “Cal played well for us. Their goaltender is playing well. Certainly Cal played well again for us and gave us an opportunity.”
John Albert, senior forward On the offensive effort “I felt like we were getting chances to put the puck on net but nothing went in. We have to keep working hard at getting good shots on goal.”
On the impact of Cal Heeter “Cal has been playing great all year. He gives the team a lot of confidence when he is out on the ice. He helps us out a lot.”
On the game plan for the game tomorrow “I think we need to do the same thing as tonight. We just need some more chances to put shots on goal. We need to stick to our game plan and make sure we do it tomorrow.”
Rick Comley, Michigan State head coach On the game “It was a tight game, obviously. Both goalies played well. It was a good win for us. Anytime you can get one on the road, you’re happy with it.”
On the play of freshman goalie Will Yanakeff “He’s improved so much from the beginning of the season. He’s really settled down and is starting to play with confidence. He hasn’t played a lot of hockey the last three years, but he’s getting healthy and playing well for us.”
On building momentum and developing as a team “It’s been a slow process but we are growing and getting better. We only have two seniors on this team, but I am starting to see that growth. It’s been slow and steady, but we are getting there.”
On Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki “I recruited him as a player — he’s the best shot blocker I’ve ever seen. It’s been fun to see him go from a high school player, to an assistant coach, and now a head coach. He was ready for this opportunity, and I know he’ll do a good job.”
Will Yanakeff, Michigan State goaltender On Ohio State’s offensive pressure in the third period “I thought we handled it well. They were really creating some good opportunities, but we did a great job of blocking shots and keeping them away from the net.”
On the importance of the second period goal to give MSU a 1-0 lead “It allows you to rest a little bit easier. In a 0-0 close game, it really gives you a boost when you put one in the net.”