The Buckeyes are taking on the Robert Morris Colonials in the Pittsburgh College Hockey Showcase in Mellon Arena, home of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, Friday night. The team arrived in town Thursday and skated on the Mellon Arena ice Friday morning to prep for the game.
After a 2-1 win by the Robert Morris women’s team over Niagara to start the day, the men’s teams took the ice for the 8:05 p.m. start. Jordan Staal and Ryan Whitney, members of the Pittsburgh Penguins, dropped the puck for a ceremonial faceoff. The game marks the return to Pittsburgh for three Buckeye players – sophomores Sergio Somma and C.J. Severyn and freshman Matt Bartkowski. Assistant coach Jason Lammers, video coordinator JB Bittner and equipment manager Tim Adams also are Pittsburgh natives.
The first period saw up-and-down hockey, with the Colonials outshooting the Buckeyes, 13-5. The Buckeyes had a deflected shot ring off the post about 11 minutes into the game. The Colonials then had a goal disallowed at the 12:19 mark when the referee ruled the puck had been kicked in. The Buckeyes took the lead when Shane Sims sent Hunter Bishop down the left side and his shot trickled through RMU goalie Wes Russell’s 5-hole. Each team had a short power-play chance in the period, along with two minutes of 4-on-4 hockey after coincidental penalties.
The Buckeyes took a 2-0 lead at 5:19 of the second period. Freshman Zac Dalpe broke in on Russell, who made the first save at the right of the net. The rebound went in the crease, and Buckeye senior captain Zach Pelletier was there to put in the rebound with Russell out of position. It was Pelletier’s first goal of the season and his first since Oct. 20, 2006. Freshman defenseman Steve West had the second assist on the goal, the first point of his Buckeye career. The Buckeyes took back-to-back penalties soon after the goal but were able to kill them off, including a few tough saves by Buckeye goalie Dustin Carlson. The teams took coincidental penalties at 12:01. The Buckeyes had the best chance of the 4-on-4,but Dalpe’s shot went high. With six seconds remaining on the 4-on-4, RMU captain Chris Margott took a hooking penalty to put the Buckeyes on the power play and soon after another Colonial was assessed a minor, giving the Buckeyes back-to-back power plays. The squad had a few good chances, including a shot off the pipe, but could not convert. Ohio State’s power-play ended when an Ohio State player took a hooking penalty, but the squad had a good stop on the PK. Freshman Ian Boots put Ohio State up 3-0 when his shot beat Russell high on the short side over his glove with 9.2 seconds left in the period. Senior Corey Elkins had the assist on the goal, Boots’ second in three games. The Buckeyes had 10 shots in the period, with Carlson stopping all eight Colonial attempts on net. The Colonials held a 21-15 lead in shots through two periods.
The Colonials changed goalies to start the third, replacing Russell with Brooks Osgergard. Carlson was called into action at 1:45 of the period, stopping Jason Towsley on a breakaway. The Colonials had the first power-play chance of the third stanza at 6:39 and the opportunity became a 5-on-3 for 1:24 after another Buckeye infraction. The Colonials took a time-out before the two-man advantage began. After a Carlson save on the two-man chances, players from both teams came together at the side of the net, with each team receiving two minors. Ohio State held strong on the penalty kill and held the Colonials off the board. The Buckeyes got a power-play chance of their own at 10:02, but did not convert.
Freshman Taylor Stefishen scored his first career goal at 17:48, putting in the rebound of a Boots shot from just outside the crease, with Elkins on the second assist. The game ended 4-0, as the Buckeyes posted their second shutout in the last three games. The team and Carlson have allowed one goal in the last three games, as the squad moves its winning streak to three.