Buckeyes vs. Gophers
The No. 2/3-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team is back in Columbus for two games vs. Minnesota this weekend. The teams will meet at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Value City Arena.
🇺🇸 Military Appreciation
🥅 Postgame Goals
— Ohio State Men's Hockey (@OhioStateMHKY) February 10, 2019
The games will be televised by BTN and available on BTN2Go. Ohio State radio will carry the action on 1460 AM, online on OhioStateBuckeyes.com and through the Ohio State Buckeyes mobile app.
Ohio State enters the series on a seven-game winning streak and is 19-5-4 overall, in first place in the Big Ten with a 12-3-3-2 mark. The Gophers are 11-14-4 on the year and in third place in the Big Ten with an 8-9-3-0 record.
The Buckeyes posted a road sweep at Wisconsin last weekend, with a 2-1 win in overtime Friday and 4-1 victory Saturday. Minnesota dropped two games at Penn State, falling 7-2 and 6-2.
Ohio State and Minnesota faced off in Minneapolis Nov. 30-Dec. 1. Ohio State earned four points in the series, with two 2-2 overtime ties and goals in 3×3 overtime.
The Buckeyes carry a seven-game winning streak into this weekend’s series. It is the team’s longest winning streak since winning six in a row Dec. 8, 2017-Jan. 6, 2018 and the first time with more than six victories in a row since a nine-game stretch Oct. 28-Dec. 3, 2011. The seven straight wins rank third among the longest active unbeaten streaks in NCAA hockey, behind Bentley (11, 9-0-2) and UMass Lowell (10, 9-0-1).
During the seven game streak …
In the Rankings
This week, the Buckeyes moved up to No. 2 in the USCHO poll and remained No. 3 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings.
Ohio State has been ranked in the Top 7 of both polls all season outside of one week at No. 9 in the USA Hockey Magazine poll Oct. 29.
Big Ten teams No. 15 Notre Dame and No. 17 Penn State join the Buckeyes in the USCHO poll. The Irish and Penn State are receiving votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings and Michigan is receiving votes in the USCHO poll.
Of the Buckeyes’ nonconference foes this season, UMass is No. 3, Arizona State is No. 12th and Bowling Green is No. 16 in the USCHO ratings and in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings, the Minutemen are second, Sun Devils are 12th and the Falcons are receiving votes.
In the B1G
Through 18 (of 24) Big Ten games, the Buckeyes are in first place in the conference with 41 points and a 12-3-3-2 record, with an 11-point lead on second-place Michigan (8-7-4-2).
Minnesota is third with 27 points (8-3-9-3), Penn State is fourth (26 points, 8-9-1-1), Notre Dame is fifth (25 points, 7-8-2-2), Michigan State is sixth (24 points, 6-10-4-2) and Wisconsin (22 points, 5-8-5-2) is seventh. The Gophers and Spartans have played a league-high 20 games, Michigan has 19 games played, the Buckeyes, Nittany Lions and Badgers have each played 18 games and the Irish have played a league-low 17 games.
Michigan and Notre Dame will play in South Bend Tuesday. In addition to the Buckeyes’ series vs. the Gophers this weekend, Wisconsin travels to Notre Dame and Michigan State hosts Penn State.
Ohio States’ remaining B1G series are home vs. Minnesota and Michigan State and away at Michigan.
The No. 1 team in the final Big Ten standings earns a bye in the quarterfinals (best-of-three series) of the league tournament, while seeds 2-4 host 5-7. The Top 2 remaining seeds host one-game semifinal matchups, with the top remaining seed hosting the final.
In B1G games only:
In Goal for the Buckeyes
Goalies Sean Romeo and Tommy Nappier split starts through the Buckeyes’ first 14 series, with Romeo starting Friday and Nappier Saturday. Nappier is second nationally in goals-against average (1.60) and save percentage (.946) and first in winning percentage (11-1-2, .857). Romeo has a 2.32 goals-against average and .913 save percentage, with an 8-4-2 ledger.
The tandem has combined for seven shutouts, tying the program record first set by the 1998 squad. Nappier is tied for fifth nationally with four shutouts, tying for third among Buckeye goalies for single-season shutouts. Romeo has three shutouts to tie for 13th in the NCAA. They both hav five career shutouts, tying for fifth among Ohio State netminders.
Last Time Out – Ohio State Tops Badgers Twice
Ohio State posted a third straight sweep of a Big Ten Conference series, downing Wisconsin 2-1 OT and 4-1 last weekend in Madison.
Game One (Full Wrapup): The teams were scoreless in the first period and the Badgers opened the scoring 2:28 into the second stanza. Ohio State tied the game with a power play goal from John Wiitala at 8:48 of the third, assisted by Brendon Kearney and Quinn Preston. With just 10 seconds left in overtime, Preston found Matt Miller all alone in front and he backhanded the puck over the UW goalie for the Ohio State victory. Shots ended 26-21 in favor of the Buckeyes, despite being outshot 14-7 through two periods. Sean Romeo had 20 saves for Ohio State, which was 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. Ohio State was 1-for-5 on the power play.
Game Two (Full Wrapup): Dakota Joshua opened the scoring with an unassisted goal 10:48 into the first period. In the second, Tommy Parran and Miguel Fidler both notched their first goals of the season, scoring at 6:36 and 12:52, respectively, for a 3-0 Buckeye lead after 40 minutes. The Badgers broke up the shutout at 18:20 of the third. Mason Jobst closed out the game with a shorthanded, empty net goal in the final second. Ohio State was outshot, 30-23, including 9-1 in the third period. Each team was 0-for-7 on the power play.
Ohio State swept the season series from the Badgers and has won six in a row vs. Wisconsin.
Larocque Named to Senior CLASS Award Top 10
Last week, defenseman Sasha Larocque was named a finalist for the 2018-19 Senior CLASS Award. Larocque, an earth sciences major and Academic All-Big Ten selection from Calgary, Alberta, is a two-time captain for the Buckeyes, who are eighth nationally in scoring defense.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Larocque is one of 10 finalists, who were chosen by national media from the list of candidates announced in the fall. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner and fans are encouraged to submit votes online at the Senior CLASS Award website through April 1. Fan votes will be combined with those of the media and Division I head coaches to determine the winners. The Senior CLASS Award recipients will be announced during the 2019 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four®.
This season, Larocque has played in 25 games and has a 2-5-7 line, with a team-best +13 rating and 38 shot blocks. He was named Big Ten Second Star of the Week Dec. 28. Ohio State is limiting opponents to 2.04 goals per game and has allowed two or fewer goals in 22 of 28 games.
Larocque has played in 132 games in the Scarlet and Gray, with 35 points, a +49 rating (the best for a Buckeye since at least 2000) and 237 shot blocks. In 2018 he was a Second Team All-Big Ten honoree and named to the NCAA Midwest Regional All-Tournament Team as the Buckeyes advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four. Larocque is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and three-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete.
Vote (often) for Larocque: go.osu.edu/VoteLarocque
Parran a Humanitarian Finalist
Senior defenseman Tommy Parran was selected one of five finalists for the 2019 Hockey Humanitarian Award, the Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation announced last week.
The award is presented annually to a student-athlete who makes significant contributions not only to his or her team but also to the community at large through leadership in volunteerism. The 2019 recipient will be revealed at a ceremony April 12 during NCAA Men’s Frozen Four weekend in Buffalo. Parran was one of 17 nominees for the 2019 award. He is the first member of the Buckeye men’s hockey program to be a Top 5 finalist for the award.
Parran, from Shaker Heights, Ohio, has played in 113 career games for the Scarlet and Gray over his four-year career and was part of NCAA appearances in 2017 and 2018, when the team made the NCAA Frozen Four for the first time in 20 years. The squad is 17-5-4 this season and stands in first place in the Big Ten with a 10-3-3-2 record. The Buckeyes are eighth in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing just 2.04 goals per game. Parran scored his first goal of the season last Saturday at Wisconsin, with it standing as the gamewinner.
Off the ice, Parran is on the executive board of the Ohio State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) as the Director of Community Service. With that role, he coordinates with local outreach programs to better local Columbus communities, encourages service for both his own team and the other Buckeye squads, coordinates days and locations for volunteer dates and has planned service events for the athletics department. He is part of Peer Educators, a student-athlete group that focuses on helping freshmen make the transition to college as well as be a resource for current student-athletes.
In addition to his work in the local community, Parran’s scope extended with his trip to Thailand in the summer of 2017 with a group from the Ohio State athletics department through Global Vision International, where they engaged in sports-related and life skills activates with the local youth in the Phang Nga province.
An English major with a history minor, Parran has earned Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten honors. He was part of the Bucks Go Pro internship program last summer, where he worked with the Ohio State athletics administration. His post-hockey career goals are to attend law school and become a Navy JAG lawyer.