March 23, 2014

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SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Ohio State men’s hockey team lost to No. 6-ranked Wisconsin in overtime, 5-4, in the inaugural Big Ten Tournament championship game Saturday in the Xcel Energy Center. Ohio State, the tournament’s No. 4 seed, ends its season 18-14-5. The No. 2 seeded Badgers claim the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.

In the game, junior Nick Oddo had a goal and two assists for three points, while juniors Ryan Dzingel and Clark Cristofoli each had a goal and an assist for two points and junior Max McCormick had two assists. Freshman goalie Christian Frey had 31 saves for the Buckeyes. Dzingel, Frey and freshman defenseman Drew Brevig all were named to the all-tournament team.

“Well, it’s that time of year where one team moves on, one team goes home,” Steve Rohlik, Ohio State head coach, said. “Obviously, unfortunately for us, they got the last shot and scored the big goal there. I’m really proud of our guys in the locker room. They emptied the tanks this weekend. They gave it all they had. That’s all I ask. It’s a big, big step for our program.”

In the championship game, the Buckeyes scored twice in the first nine minutes for a 2-0 lead. At 4:51, Dzingel scored on the rush, assisted by Oddo and Brevig. Oddo put in the rebound after saves on Dzingel and freshman Nick Schilkey at 8:56 to extend the advantage to two. With 23 seconds left in the period, the Badgers’ Jake McCabe scored on the power play to cut the Buckeye lead in half. Wisconsin outshot Ohio State, 10-9, in the period.

Wisconsin tied the score at 11:24 of the second period on a goal from Morgan Zulinick on the power play. Just 1:16 later, McCormick passed to Cristofoli who was trailing the play and his shot found the back of the net for his first career goal. Oddo also assisted on the goal, which came at 12:40. Shots were 12-10 in favor of UW in the stanza.

At 13:08 of the third junior Tanner Fritz scored high on the far side for a 4-2 Buckeye lead, but the Badgers responded with back-to-back goals 28 seconds apart in the next 48 seconds to tie the game at 4. Jefferson Dahl tallied at 13:28, with Tyler Barnes scoring at 13:56. Neither team was able to score the rest of the way, sending the third of the five tournament games to overtime. Ohio State had 10 shots in the period, with Wisconsin putting nine on net.

In overtime, the Badgers netted the gamewinner at 7:48, with Mark Zengerle getting to a loose puck. Wisconsin had five shots on net, with Ohio State putting three on goal.

Wisconsin outshot Ohio State, 36-32, in the game. Frey had 31 saves in 67:48. He ends the season 9-4-3, with a 2.27 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. Wisconsin’s Joel Rumpel had 28 stops in 67:48.

Ohio State was scoreless on four power play chances and Wisconsin converted 2-of-3 chances.

The Buckeyes blocked 20 Badger shots in the game, led by Brevig (who was +3 in the game), senior captain Curtis Gedig and Fritz with three each.

Dzingel ends the season as the Buckeyes’ leading scorer for the third time. A Hobey Baker finalist, he has 46 points, with a team-high 22 goals. It is the most goals for a Buckeye since RJ Umberger had 53 in 2003 and is the seventh 40-point campaign for a Buckeye since 1998-99. He has 108 career points, with 45 goals and 63 assists, in 110 career games to rank 45th in program history.

McCormick, Dzingel and Fritz all end the season tied for the team lead with 24 assists. McCormick was second with 35 points, followed by Fritz with 32. Oddo was fourth on the squad with 31 points, including 21 assists. McCormick ended the year on a seven-game assist streak, with nine assists in the stretch. Fritz had a point in each of the last five games, with a 2-4-6 line.