March 18, 2018

No. 1 Seed Ohio State Heading to NCAA Midwest Regional


March 18, 2018

2018 NCAA Championship Bracket

The Ohio State men’s hockey team, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time, is heading to Allentown, Pa., for the Midwest Regional, the NCAA announced Sunday. The Buckeyes, the tournament’s fourth overall seed, will take on Princeton at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the PPL Center, with the game televised by ESPNU.

The other Midwest Regional matchup is No. 2 seed Denver vs. No. 3 seed Penn State, the regional host. They will meet at 7 p.m. Saturday. The regional final will be at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU, with the winner heading to the NCAA Frozen Four at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. The national semifinals are April 5, with the national championship game April 7.

This marks Ohio State’s second straight and eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The squad reached the Frozen Four in 1998 in its first NCAA Tournament and also earned a spot in 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2017.

Ohio State is 24-9-5 this season, notching the most wins since 2009. The squad had a six-game unbeaten streak end Saturday with an overtime loss to Notre Dame in the Big Ten Tournament championship game. The squad ranks in the Top 11 in the NCAA in penalty killing (1st/.893), scoring defense (5th/2.11 goals allowed per game), winning percentage (5th/.697), power play (7th/.242), scoring margin (7th/+1.08) and scoring offense (11th/3.18 goals per game).

Princeton (19-12-4) enters the tournament on an eight-game unbeaten streak (7-0-1). The squad won the ECAC Tournament, defeating Clarkson in overtime, to capture the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State and Princeton have met three times, all at neutral sites. The most recent was a 4-1 Buckeye win Jan. 3, 2003 in Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. The squads also faced off in a tournament in Cincinnati Dec. 28, 1987, a 6-5 Ohio State victory, and in a tournament in Cleveland Dec. 22, 1972, with Ohio State winning in overtime, 3-2.

The Buckeyes are one of four Big Ten teams in the 2018 NCAA Championship. Notre Dame, the No. 2 overall seed, is the No. 1 seed in the East Regional and will face Michigan Tech Friday in the first round. Michigan is the No. 2 seed in the Northeast Regional and will go up against Northeastern Saturday in the opening round. Ohio State and Penn State are together in the Midwest Regional in Allentown.

Quoting the Buckeyes
Steve Rohlik, head coach
On earning a No. 1 seed 
“It means the world to this program. This is about the guys in the room and the guys, the coaches who came before us. We are excited to be here and we are excited about what lies before us.”

On the success this season
“This hasn’t just happened in one year. This has been a long time coming. There is a rich hockey tradition here and we are happy to keep that going. We know the journey is going to be a tough one ahead of us.”

Mason Jobst, captain and junior forward
On the NCAA bid
“I’m excited to be a No 1 seed. It’s the first time in school history. It’s a great accomplishment. We worked really hard this year. We are excited for the test in front of us. As coach said it is a new season from now on.”

On Big Ten hockey this year
“We have been playing in an unbelievable conference all year that has prepared us for this moment. (The league) is growing and getting better every year. We were close to having five teams in [the NCAA Tournament] this year.”