COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No 7/5-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team closed out a sweep of Mercyhurst with a 5-4 victory Saturday in Value City Arena. The Buckeyes scored the game’s final two goals for the win. Carson Meyer notched his second of the game late in the second period to tie the score at four and senior defenseman Sasha Larocque scored the eventual gamewinner midway through the third.
Six Buckeyes had multiple points in the game. Carson Meyer scored twice, Larocque, Freddy Gerard and Ronnie Hein each had a goal and an assist and Dakota Joshua and Tanner Laczynski had two helpers each.
Ohio State, on a five-game unbeaten streak, improves to 11-4-3 on the year (4-2-2-2 B1G) and the Lakers are now 8-10-2.
The Buckeyes return to Big Ten action with two games at Michigan State next weekend. The teams will meet at 7 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday in East Lansing, with BTN televising both games.
— Ohio State Men's Hockey (@OhioStateMHKY) December 30, 2018
Ohio State 5, Mercyhurst 4
The Lakers opened the scoring on a goal at 9:27 of the first period but the Buckeyes scored twice in less than two minutes for a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes. Ronnie Hein tied the game at 13:45, as Tanner Laczynski – from below the goal line – found Hein in front. Sasha Larocque, who started the play with a shot in from the point, had the second assist. Freddy Gerard put the Buckeyes ahead at 16:16, as he backhanded in a shot from the slot with Ohio State on the power play. Hein and Laczynski assisted on the tally. Ohio State outshot Mercyhurst, 20-7, in the period.
The teams combined for five goals in the second period. Just 1:51 into the game Mercyhurst tied the game with a power play goal and then the Lakers went ahead at 3:03. Just 21 seconds later Carson Meyer tied the game at three. From the boards, Dakota Joshua found Meyer in the high slot for the goal at 3:24, with John Wiitala also assisting. Taylor Best scored for the Lakers at 14:11 for a 4-3 advantage. The Buckeyes again tied the game, as Gerard sent Meyer in on a breakaway with a stretch pass. Joshua had the second helper on the score. Ohio State put 18 shots on goal in the period, with the Lakers getting 11 through.
On the gamewinner, Buckeye freshman Quinn Preston sent the puck in deep. A Laker moved it up the boards, but Gustaf Westlund first got to the puck and it then went to Larocque. He shot it at the net and it was able to get through for a 5-4 Ohio State lead at 10:34. The Buckeyes held the Lakers off the scoreboard the rest of the way, including during a power play at 11:54 and a minute-plus of 6×5 hockey to close out the game. Ohio State had the shot advantage, 13-7, in the period.
The Buckeyes outshot the Lakers, 50-26, in the game. Tommy Nappier improved to 6-1-2 for Ohio State this season with 22 saves in 59:15. Laker goalie Stefano Cantali had 45 stops in 58:25. Matt Miller had five of the Buckeyes’ nine shot blocks. Mercyhurst blocked 21 Ohio State shot attempts.
Each team had one power play goal – Ohio State was 1-for-4 (with 12 shots on goal with the man advantage) and Mercyhurst was 1-for-3.
Quoting Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik
On what stood out about the game:
“The win. It’s nice to come back and get two wins against a really good hockey team. I’m pleased with scoring the goals and not so pleased with our structure.”
On playing Mercyhurst in preparation for Big Ten play:
“Winning is huge. It’s tough to win in college hockey, the parity is off the charts – I say it every time. I have so much respect for what Coach Gotkin has done there for 31 years with their program; they’ve won a lot of hockey games. For us it means a lot to get the two wins this weekend.”
Noting the Buckeyes