March 31, 2019

Buckeyes Drop Big Ten Opener to Rutgers


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COLUMBUS – Ohio State opened the Big Ten portion of its schedule with a 14-6 setback against Rutgers on Sunday afternoon inside Ohio Stadium. With the loss, the Buckeyes are 7-1 on the season while the Scarlet Knights improve to 6-4.

Ohio State scored the game’s first goal – just 45 seconds into the opening quarter – but trailed the rest of the way after Rutgers scored six straight over the first and second quarters. Junior Tre Leclaire scored twice on the day to lead an offense that generated 45 shots, but Rutgers goalie Max Edelmann made 17 saves.

The Buckeyes’ Justin Inacio controlled the game in the face-off X, winning 17-of-22 on the afternoon while also picking up more ground balls (30) than the Scarlet Knights (28). Inacio ran his streak of games with 10 or more face-off wins to 13 straight contests.

Rutgers took a 7-2 lead into halftime, and the Buckeyes were able to slice into that advantage with back to back goals in the third quarter, but could get no closer.

Head coach Nick Myers: “Credit to Rutgers. They came in with a sense of urgency we knew they would have. They’re an excellent team and can score quickly – they did a really nice job in that sense. For us it’s a chance to regroup. A new season started today and while it’s not the way we wanted to start it, we’re going to have to go on the road now and find a way to get our first Big Ten win.

“We’re still figuring out exactly who we are. This is something that we’ll grow from, we’ll learn and be better for it moving forward.”

Colby Smith started out the scoring on Sunday with his ninth goal of the season but Rutgers quickly responded with six straight scores over the next 16 minutes to take a 6-1 lead.
• Sophomore Griffin Hughes was able to stop the run when his bounce shot trickled past Max Edelmann, but Rutgers had the final goal of the half to go up 7-2 at the break.
• Over the first nine minutes of the third quarter, Jack Myers and Nick Musci got into the scoring column to pull the Scarlet and Gray within three at 7-4. Rutgers, however, scored back to back goals at 5:32 and 2:02, respectively, to push its lead to 9-4. Leclaire closed out the third-quarter scoring with his first tally of the day, an unassisted goal at 1:19.
• Rutgers converted a man-up opportunity midway through the fourth quarter to make the score 10-5, but less than a minute later Leclaire worked his way towards the cage and scored for the second time on the day. It cut the Scarlet Knights’ lead to 10-6 and was also his 100th career goal.
• The Scarlet Knights finished the game by scoring the final four goals, including one on an extra-man opportunity.

• Leclaire ran his goal-scoring streak to 15 straight games. In that span, he has 37 goals.
• Inacio increased his season face-off win percentage to .628. He’s won 117 of 187 through the first eight games this year. He also leads the Big Ten with 80 total ground balls.
• Prior to the game, Ohio State hosted over 70 alumni and friends for a breakfast as part of its annual alumni game. The alums also formed a tunnel on the field pre-game that the team ran through.

Leading Scorers: Leclaire (2G), Jack Myers (1G, 1A), Colby Smith (1G), Nick Musci (1G), Griffin Hughes (1G), Lukas Buckley (1A)
Shots: Ohio State 45, Rutgers 36
Ground Balls: Ohio State 30, Rutgers 28
Face-offs: Ohio State 17-of-22, Rutgers 5-of-22
Clears: Ohio State 23-of-25, Rutgers 16-of-19
Extra Man: Rutgers 2-of-3, Ohio State 0-of-4
Saves: Rutgers (Edelmann) 17, Ohio State (Kirson) 9
Turnovers: Ohio State 17, Rutgers 12

Ohio State is on the road next weekend when it takes on Penn State in State College, Pa. at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 7. The game will be carried live on BTN.