COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s hockey team opened the final regular-season series with a 2-2 overtime tie against Ferris State Thursday night in Value City Arena. The Bulldogs won the shootout, 1-0 in three rounds, to take the extra point in the league standings.
Ohio State (15-15-4, 10-13-4-2) and Ferris State (16-14-5, 11-12-4-3) will wrap up the series at 7:05 p.m. Friday in VCA. The Thursday night game will be rebroadcast at 4 p.m. Friday on Big Ten Network as part of its StudentU programming. The Friday game will be streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com and televised on BTN at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Thursday against the Bulldogs, the Buckeyes led 1-0 after the first period on a Shane Sims goal. The Bulldogs tied the game on Eric Alexander’s goal in the second period. In the third Aaron Schmit put FSU ahead with a power-play goal at 2:38 but Sergio Somma converted a turnover just over a minute later to deadlock the score. Buckeye goalie Cal Heeter had 34 saves in the game.
The Buckeyes opened the scoring at 10:39 of the first. Freshman Chris Crane blocked a shot and raced up the ice. He waited and was able to hit a trailing Sims with a pass, who shot into an empty net with FSU goalie Pat Nagle covering for a Crane shot. Heeter stopped all seven shots he saw in the period as the Buckeyes outshot the Bulldogs, 10-7. Each team had one power-play chance.
The Bulldogs controlled play in the second period, outshooting the Buckeyes, 21-3, and tying the game on a goal by Alexander at 10:59. Mike Fillinger brought the puck into the zone and it went off Travis Ouellette in the slot to Alexander at the far post. He was able to bury it before Heeter could get into position. Heeter had 20 saves in the stanza.
In the third Schmit scored at 2:38, putting the puck over the line from in close after skating in down the left side. Somma tied the score at 3:54, picking off a clearing attempt by Nagle and scoring before he could recover. Shots were 7-7 in the period. The Buckeyes held the Bulldogs scoreless on two power-play chances, including an opportunity that began with 1:49 left in regulation.
Ohio State was able to stop the remaining 11 seconds of the penalty to open overtime. Both teams had chances in the extra session, with the Buckeyes putting three shots on net and Heeter stopping one attempt, but neither could come out with the win.
In the shootout, Nagle stopped Buckeye Peter Boyd in the opening round before Chad Billins scored for the Bulldogs. Nagle made a save on Danny Dries in round two, with Derek Graham unable to get a shot on Heeter. Somma was unable to score in the third round to give the Bulldogs the extra CCHA point.
Heeter played 64:51 in the Buckeye net and had 34 saves, allowing two goals. Nagle made 21 saves for the Bulldogs, playing 64:40 and giving up two tallies.
Ohio State was scoreless on three power play chances and the Bulldogs converted one of five opportunities.
Postgame Notes Somma now has a team-high 18 goals on the year. He is second with a personal-high 32 points.
The Buckeyes have held their opponents to two goals or less in the last four games and in six of the last seven contests, allowing three goals in the other outing. The squad is holding opponents to 2.41 goals a game this year.
Ohio State has scored two or fewer goals in four of the last five games.
The Buckeyes are now 2-2 in shootouts on the year.
Heeter continues to lead the country in minutes played (2016:24) and is in the Top 3 in saves (911). He has a 2.29 goals-against average this year and a .922 save percentage.
Sims leads the Buckeye defensemen with 18 points this season.
The game Friday is the final regular-season game for the Buckeyes. A win gives the team home ice in the first round of the CCHA playoffs.
Postgame Quotes Mark Osiecki, Ohio State head coach On the second period “I thought there was one shift in the second period where we turned the puck over a few times and it ended in a penalty and that was the turning point in the game. We played pretty well the first and third periods — it was the second period that got us.”
On losing the momentum “It was one shift in the second. Other than that we had a good two periods. We had one shift that we had some penalties and then Ferris State took the momentum.”
On tomorrow’s game “We have to get better. We’ve said it all year. I thought we took a step back from last week. We need to turn the page and get better tomorrow. We didn’t practice well this week and it carried over into today.”
On a Thursday night game “Stevie [Ohio State assistant Steve Brent] said ‘this feels like every Thursday game we’ve played here.’ This is my first Thursday game. It is definitely a huge change to make.”
Sergio Somma, Ohio State senior forward On losing a shootout “It never feels good to lose in a shootout. It feels a lot better to win it and get that quick point.”
On the team’s poor second period “It’s hard to say what went wrong in the second, but we didn’t play too solid of a game overall.”
On if there was an effect from the short week “It might have had an effect, but we aren’t going to sit here and make excuses. As a team we have to play better and the older guys on the team need to step up and play better.”
Bob Daniels, Ferris State head coach On the first period “I was really disappointed with our effort in the first period — we were fortunate to only be down a goal. Ohio State, like any good home team, came out ready to go and really took it to us there for awhile.”
On his team’s renewed sense of energy in the second period “We were more in tune, played with more energy, and skated better. It was a total team effort.”
On picking up the extra point in the shootout “It’s big. From what I know, we can’t finish lower than seventh and could end up as high as fourth [in the CCHA] depending on what happens tomorrow. We still need to come out tomorrow and get some more points to help our case.”
Chad Billins, Ferris State junior defenseman On the game “We came out slow and you can’t do that against a quick and dangerous team like Ohio State. We held our composure though and no one panicked. It’s nice to come together as a team and get a big win.”