Dec. 29, 2015
ESTERO, Fla. – An all-around team effort led the Ohio State men’s hockey team to an 8-0 win over No. 9-ranked Cornell in the Florida College Hockey Classic championship game in Germain Arena. The victory gave the Buckeyes the tournament title, with the squad downing No. 4-ranked Boston College, 3-2, in the semifinals.
Buckeye junior goalie Christian Frey stopped all 27 shots he faced for his first career shutout. The Buckeyes had eight goal scorers and 13 record at least one point. Freshman John Wiitala, senior Nick Schilkey and sophomore Matthew Weis all picked up a goal and an assist and freshmen Miguel Fidler and Mason Jobst both had a career-high three assists. The penalty kill was 7-for-7 in the win.
“I’m proud of our team and the way we played all tournament,” Steve Rohlik, Ohio State head coach, said. “This was a great tournament with outstanding teams. Tonight, Frey made some early saves and the penalty kill stepped up and that allowed us to gain momentum. We’ll look for this to be a stepping stone as we head into Big Ten play.”
Frey was named the tournament MVP and Schilkey, senior Anthony Greco and junior defenseman Josh Healey were named to the all-tournament team. Ohio State was making its fifth appearance in the tournament, its first since 2003, and this is its first tourney title.
Ohio State led 2-0 after the first period and then broke the game open in the second with four goals, including three in 90 seconds. The Buckeyes added two more in the third for the 8-0 victory, the team’s first eight-goal game since an 8-2 win over Notre Dame in the CCHA tournament first round March 6, 2010.
In the first, freshman defenseman Sasha Larocque opened the scoring at 6:27, as his shot from the point got through, assisted by Fidler and Weis, who won the faceoff in the Cornell zone to start the play. At 16:52 the Buckeyes got their second goal from a defenseman, as Healey scored on the power play with a slap shot. Jobst and Wiitala assisted on the tally, Healey’s third of the year. The assist was the first of Wiitala’s Buckeye career. The Buckeyes were 1-for-1 on the power play in the period and held Cornell scoreless on two chances. The teams combined for 23 shots in the period, with Cornell holding the edge, 12-11.
Schilkey got things rolling in the second with a tally at 3:56, assisted by Fidler. The goal was Schilkey’s team-best ninth of the season. Just 26 seconds later junior David Gust scored, assisted by classmate Drew Brevig and Jobst, and at 5:26 senior Tyler Lundey took a pass from sophomore defenseman Janik Moser and drove to the net for his third goal of the season. The assist was Moser’s first point of the year. With time winding down in the period and the Buckeyes shorthanded, Greco won the race to the puck and scored on the breakaway, putting Ohio State up 6-0 with his eighth goal of the year and his second shorthanded tally. Ohio State outshot Cornell, 9-7, in the period.
In the third, Wiitala had a shot sneak in at 4:22 with the Buckeyes on the power play, assisted by classmates Dakota Joshua and Jobst. The final goal came at 9:49 when Weis converted a 2-on-1 with Schilkey for his sixth goal of the year. Ohio State had nine shots in the period, with Frey stopping all eight Cornell attempts to preserve the shutout.
Ohio State outshot Cornell, 29-27, in the game. Frey played all 60 minutes for the Buckeyes, stopping all 27 shots he faced. He allowed just two goals in the tournament, stopping 57-of-59 (.966) shots. Cornell starter Mitch Gillam played 24:19 and had 10 saves on 14 shots. Hayden Stewart came on in relief and allowed four goals, making 11 saves.
The Buckeyes blocked 21 shots in the win, led by Healey with seven and Brevig and senior Craig Dalrymple with four each. Larocque and Brevig were a team-best +4 vs. the Big Red.
Ohio State returns to action with a Big Ten Conference series at Wisconsin Jan. 8-9. Puck drop both nights is at 8 p.m. ET in the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.