The No. 18/14 Ohio State men’s hockey team plays at No. 6/8 Minnesota in its first Big Ten road series of the season this weekend.
The Buckeyes (6-2-0, 3-1-0-0-0-0 B1G) and Golden Gophers (6-4-0, 3-1-0-0-1-0 B1G) will meet at 7:30 p.m. ET Friday and 6 p.m. ET Saturday in 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis, Minn.
The games will be televised by Bally Sports North, with Bally Sports Great Lakes carrying the broadcast. The games can also be streamed live on BallySports.com as well as the Bally Sports app and B1G+ via smartphones, tablets and connected devices when fans authenticate using their pay-tv credentials.
Ohio State Radio will also have the radio call on 1460 AM, WBNS-FM-HD2 (Columbus), OhioStateBuckeyes.com and the Ohio State Buckeyes app. Live stats will also be available.
Buckeye Notes to Know
The Buckeyes enter the series on a three-game winning streak and are 6-1 in their last seven games. Ohio State swept Penn State in Columbus last weekend with 5-2 and 4-1 victories. Minnesota played at Wisconsin last weekend, falling in overtime 4-3 before a 4-1 win.
Ohio State and Minnesota played four times last season, with the Gophers sweeping the season series. The Buckeyes opened their campaign in Minneapolis Nov. 23-24 and the teams met in Columbus Jan. 29-30.
Ohio State moved into the national rankings for the first time this season Monday. The squad is No. 18 in the USCHO poll and No. 14 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings.
This year, 22 Buckeyes – including every skater with more than two games played – have posted at least one point through the first eight games. Sixteen have at least one goal and 18 have one or more assists.
Ohio State is in the Top 10 in the NCAA in scoring offense, scoring defense, scoring margin and faceoff winning percentage. The Buckeyes have scored three or more goals in six of eight games this year and are averaging 3.75 goals a night. The defense has held opponents to three or less goals in all eight games and is allowing 1.5 goals per game overall.
Ohio State is outscoring opponents 15-2 in the third period this season.
This is the Buckeyes’ second road series of the season – the squad started the year at Bentley, with a 2-1 loss and 7-1 win.
Buckeyes vs. Gophers
The series between Ohio State and Minnesota dates to 1968 but 42 of the 48 games have been since 1999.
In Minnesota, the Gophers have the edge, 21-2-3, and Minnesota leads in Big Ten regular season games, 21-6-5. In the overall series, the Gophers lead, 35-8-5.
The Buckeyes opened the 2020-21 campaign on the road against Minnesota, with 4-1 and 2-0 losses Nov. 23-24, 2020. In Columbus Jan. 29-30 the Gophers won 5-1 and 5-2.
Minnesota is 6-4-0 overall and has a 3-1-0-0-1-0 B1G record, with a sweep of Notre Dame and split, including an overtime loss, to Wisconsin last weekend.
The Gophers are scoring 3.50 goals a night and allowing 2.70 goals a game. The power play is 10th nationally (26.1%).
Blake McLaughlin is first on the team with 10 assists and 13 points and Bryce Brodzinski has a team-best six goals, followed by Sammy Walker with five.
From the Stat Sheet
Mark Cheremeta and Mason Lohrei lead the Buckeyes with seven points each. Cheremeta, Tate Singleton and Gustaf Westlund are tied for the team goal scoring lead with three and Lohrei is first with five assists.
Singleton (3g, 3a), Cam Thiesing (2g, 4a) and Jake Wise (2g, 4a) are tied for third with six points each.
In goal, Jakub Dobeš is 6-1-0, with a 1.06 goals-against average and .960 save percentage.
As a team (through games of Nov. 9), the Buckeyes are in the Top 10 in the NCAA in faceoff winning percentage (3rd/.570), scoring defense (4th/1.50), scoring margin (4th/2.25) and scoring offense (9th/3.75).
Buckeye This and That As a team …
The Buckeyes have allowed more than two goals in just one game this season (a 4-3 overtime victory). The squad is fourth nationally and first in the Big Ten, allowing 1.50 goals per game.
Ohio State has scored three-plus goals in six games on the year and has 14 in the last three games combined. The squad is averaging 3.75 goals a game to rank ninth in the NCAA and second in the B1G.
Against Penn State, the Buckeyes allowed the first goal and trailed after the first period but had five-goal and four-goal runs to take command of the game.
Ohio State has rallied for a win when trailing after the second period twice this season. Against UConn Ohio State was down 3-0 in the second period but cut the lead to 3-2 before the end of the second, tied the game in the third and prevailed in overtime. In game one vs. Penn State Ohio State was behind 1-0 from the first period until a goal 4:30 into the third, taking the lead 41 seconds later.
After taking seven penalties for 33 minutes in game two vs. Michigan State, the Buckeyes had five penalties for 10 minutes in the two games combined vs. Penn State.
The Buckeyes are third nationally in faceoff winning percentage (.570). Jake Wise has won a team-high 81 faceoffs (.579) and Georgii Merkulov leads the team with a .630 winning percentage (51-30), followed by Patrick Guzzo (.627/37-22).
Mark Cheremeta is on a team-high four-game point streak (2g, 3a, 5p). Cam Thiesing has points in each of the last three games (1g, 3a, 4p) and Georgii Merkulov has a point in each of his last three outings (3a).
Dominic Vidoli is tied for sixth in the NCAA with two gamewinning goals, sharing the league among the nation’s defensemen. Both of his goals this season have been gamewinners.
Four Buckeyes have scored their first collegiate goals so far this season – Mason Lohrei, Dominic Vidoli, Camden Thiesing and Georgii Merkulov.
The four Buckeye rookie skaters (Lohrei, Thiesing, Merkulov, McWard) have combined for 20 points, with five goals and 15 assists.
Last Time Out
The Buckeyes swept Penn State last weekend. Ohio State allowed the first goal in each game, but came from behind both nights for 5-2 and 4-1 victories.
In the first game, Penn State scored the only goal of the first period and carried the lead until 16:16 of the second. Kamil Sadlocha tied the game at that point and with 12 seconds left in the period Sadlocha notched his second of the night to put the Buckeyes ahead. Buckeyes Jake Wise, Jaedon Leslie and Gustaf Westlund all scored in the first 5:49 of the third period for a 5-1 Buckeye lead before Penn State stopped Ohio State’s run at 8:54. Penn State ended the game outshooting the Buckeyes, 35-27, with Jakub Dobeš making 33 saves for Ohio State and the Buckeyes blocking 16 shots. Each team was 1-for-2 on the power play.
Saturday, the Nittany Lions scored 3:48 into the game but did not find the back of the net the rest of the way, with Jakub Dobeš stopping the final 26 shots. Ohio State took control in the third period. At 4:30 freshman defenseman Mason Lohrei tied the game and just 42 seconds later junior blueliner Dominic Vidoli put the Buckeyes in the lead. Sophomore Joe Dunlap added an insurance goal at 13:11 and senior Mark Cheremeta sealed the win with an empty net goal at 17:53. Lohrei and Cheremeta both had two-point nights with a goal and an assist, while senior Jake Wise had two assists.
Have a Game, PSU Edition
Kamil Sadlocha scored his first two goals of the season and notched his first career two-goal night and multi-point outing Friday.
Friday, 14 Buckeyes had at least one point in the 5-2 win. Sadlocha was the only Buckeye with multiple points.
Mason Lohrei had three points and was +4 in the series. He had an assist in each game and added a goal Saturday.
Mark Cheremeta also notched three points, with a goal and an assist in game two and helper in game one.
Joe Dunlap scored his first goal of the year, and first since Nov. 29, 2020, Saturday.
Jake Wise scored the gamewinner Friday and had two assists Saturday – his first multiple-point game at Ohio State.
Defenseman Will Riedell was +5 and blocked six shots in the two games combined.
Jakub Dobeš had a career-high 33 saves in the opener and had another 29 Saturday.
Ohio State is off next weekend.
Thanksgiving weekend the Buckeyes will host Mercyhurst in a nonconference series Nov. 26-27, with puck drop at 5 p.m. each night.