December 22, 2021

Buckeye Hockey Notebook – First Half Wrapup

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The Ohio State men’s hockey team closed out the first part of its schedule with a sweep of a home-and-home series against Bowling Green, posting a 4-3 overtime win in Columbus Thursday and a 3-2 road victory Friday.

The No. 17-ranked Buckeyes entered their December break 12-6 on the year, with a 6-4 mark in Big Ten play.

Stars of the Week

  • Because Ohio State was the only Big Ten team in action last week, the conference did not select Stars of the Week.
  • Among the Buckeye standouts in the series vs. BG …
    • Georgii Merkulov had a team-best four points, with two goals and two assists. Thursday he tied the score in the third period as the Buckeyes came back to win. Friday, he had a career-best two assists and three points, setting up the first goal, scoring the game-tying goal in the second and assisting on the gamewinner in the third.
    • Grant Gabriele had three points in the sweep, with an assist in game one and goal and a helper in game two. He blocked four shots and was +1.
    • Jake Wise had a three-point weekend, with a goal and an assist in the first game and a helper in game two.
    • Jakub Dobeš had 72 saves on 77 shots for a 2.46 goals-against average and .935 save percentage. Friday he had a career-high 42 stops, including on a third period penalty shot to hold the Buckeyes’ one-goal lead in the final minute.
    • Gustaf Westlund had an assist and scored the overtime winner Thursday. The Friday contest was career game No. 100 for the senior.
Ohio State Buckeyes

The Schedule Ahead

  • The Buckeyes will return to play with a series at home vs. LIU. Puck drops at 5 p.m. Dec. 31 and and 3 p.m. Jan. 1 in Value City Arena in the Schottenstein Center.
  • The rest of the slate features seven two-game series vs. Big Ten foes, starting at Wisconsin Jan. 7-8.
  • Ohio State will welcome Notre Dame Jan. 14-15, Wisconsin Feb. 4-5 and Minnesota Feb. 11-12, with road series at Michigan State Jan. 21-22, at Penn State Jan. 28-29 and at Michigan Feb. 18-19.
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In the Big

  • In the Big Ten this year, teams are awarded three points in the conference standings for a win in regulation. If the game is tied following regulation, both teams receive one point, with a second point awarded to the team that wins in either the 3-on-3 overtime period or the shootout. Records reflect W-L-T-OTW-OTL-SW.
  • All teams have finished B1G play until January. Michigan has played 12 league games, while the other six teams have played 10.
  • Michigan is in first place with a 7-5-0-0-2-0 record and 23 points. Minnesota is second (19 points, 6-4-0-0-1-0), with Ohio State a point behind (18, 6-4-0-0-0-0). Notre Dame is one point back (17, 6-4-0-2-1-0) and Michigan State is in fifth (14, 5-5-0-1-0-0), with Wisconsin sixth (10, 3-7-0-1-1-0) and Penn State seventh (9, 3-7-0-1-0-0).
Ohio State Buckeyes

Miller Again on WJC Staff
Associate head coach Steve Miller is serving as an assistant coach for the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team competiting in the World Junior Championship for the sixth consecutive time this winter.

He has been a part of four medal winning squads – golds in 2017 and 2021, a bronze in 2018 and a silver in 2019.

Team USA will face Finland in a pre-tournament game Thursday before preliminary round games vs. Slovakia Dec. 26, Switzerland Dec. 28, Sweden Dec. 29 and Russia Dec. 31. Quarterfinals will be Jan. 2, with the semifinals Jan. 4 and gold and bronze medal games Jan. 5. NHL Network will televise all USA Hockey contests.

The U.S. National Junior Team will take part in the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta, Dec. 26-Jan. 5.

Ohio State Buckeyes

From the Stat Sheet

  • Rookie forward Georgii Merkulov leads the Buckeyes with seven goals and 17 points and is tied for second with 10 assists.
  • Freshman defenseman Mason Lohrei is first with 12 assists and second with 15 points.
  • Senior Jake Wise is third with a 4-10-14 line, while freshman Cam Thiesing and senior Grant Gabriele are tied for fourth with 11 points each, on three goals and eight assists apiece.
  • Gabriele is first with a +14 rating and Ryan O’Connell leads the squad with 25 shot blocks, with Will Riedell second with 23.
  • In goal, Jakub Dobeš is 10-5-0, with a 2.20 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.
  • As a team (through games of Dec. 19), the Buckeyes are in the Top 15 in the NCAA in faceoff winning percentage (4th/.548), winning percentage (12th/.667), scoring defense (14th/2.33), scoring margin (15th/1.06), and scoring offense (15th/3.39).

Strong Late

  • The Buckeyes are outscoring opponents 30-12 in the third period this season and 32-12 in the third and overtime combined.
  • The Buckeyes are 4-6 when trailing after the second period this campaign.
  • Ohio State has rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in three games this season. The squad trailed Minnesota 3-0 after the first period Nov. 12 and won in regulation 4-3 and was down 3-0 against UConn in the second period Oct. 15 before a 4-3 overtime victory. The Buckeyes started the third period against Bowling Green Dec. 17 behind 3-0 and won in overtime, 4-3.
  • The Buckeyes were down 1-0 against Penn State entering the third but scored the game’s final four goals for a 4-1 victory.
Ohio State Buckeyes

Congrats to Coach Bittner!

He is now a two-time graduate of The Ohio State University.