Setting the Scene
– The Ohio State men’s hockey team will play for a spot in the NCAA Frozen Four when it takes on Denver in the NCAA Midwest Regional final at PPL Center in Allentown, Pa., today. The No. 1 seed Buckeyes (25-9-5, 14-8-2 B1G) will face the No. 2 seed Pioneers (23-9-8, 12-6-6 NCHC) at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
– In the regional semifinals Saturday, Ohio State topped Princeton, 4-2, and Denver downed Penn State, 5-1.
– The Buckeyes are making their second consecutive NCAA appearance and the eighth in program history. The squad reached the Frozen Four once, in 1998. Denver, in its 11th consecutive NCAA tournament, is the defending NCAA champion and has 16 Frozen Four appearances.
– The Buckeyes are a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Last season, Ohio State was the No. 4 seed in the West Regional, where it fell to Minnesota Duluth in overtime.
– The game between the Buckeyes and Pioneers will be televised by ESPNU and available on Watch ESPN and the ESPN app as well as TSN Go in Canada. Kevin Brown and Colby Cohen will be calling the action from the Midwest Regional.
– Ohio State radio will carry the game on 1460 AM in Columbus, on the TuneIn app and through Buckeye Vision, with Herb Howenstine and John Mowat on the call.
– Live stats will be available through a link on OhioStateBuckeyes.com and NCAA.com.
– Radio, video and live stats links can be found on the men’s hockey schedule and gameday pages on OhioStateBuckeyes.com, with ingame updates on Twitter @OhioState_MHKY as well.
— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) March 25, 2018
Buckeye Notes to Know
– The Buckeyes are looking for the second trip to the NCAA Frozen Four in program history and the first since 1998. The team is making its eighth NCAA appearance. The win Saturday was the second victory in first round action.
– Ohio State is 25-9-5 on the year. The last time the team had 25 or more wins was a stretch of three years from 2003-05 when the squad won 25, 26 and 27 games, respectively. The team was 21-12-6 last year, giving the squad back-to-back 20+ win seasons for the first time since the Buckeyes had four straight years with 20 or more wins from 2002-05.
– Ohio State ranks in the Top 10 in the NCAA in penalty kill (1st/.891), wins (t-3rd/25), winning percentage (4th/.705), penalty minutes per game (4th/8.8), team defense (5th/2.10 goals allowed per game), power play (7th/.239) and scoring offense (10th/3.21 goals scored per game).
– When scoring first this season, Ohio State is undefeated (18-0-3). The squad is 7-9-2 when allowing the first tally.
– Six Buckeyes have notched double-digit goals, led by junior Mason Jobst, who notched goal No. 20 in the win over Princeton. Ten Ohio State players have double-digit assists, led by sophomore Tanner Laczynski with 29. Laczynski (45) and Jobst (42) have both crossed the 40-point mark. Thirteen Buckeyes have 10+ points this season.
– The Buckeyes rebounded from an overtime loss in the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game with the victory Saturday. Ohio State lost back-to-back games just twice this season, dropping a series to Notre Dame in November and then games vs. Michigan State and the Irish Feb. 3/9.
– Steve Rohlik was named Big Ten Coach of the Year, the first Ohio State coach to win the award since 1998. Forward Tanner Laczynski, a finalist for league player of the year honors, was a First Team All-Big Ten selection, while forward Mason Jobst, junior Sasha Larocque and goalie Sean Romeo were named Second Team All-Big Ten and Matthew Weis was an honorable mention selection. Goalie Tommy Nappier was named to the B1G All-Freshman Team and Christian Lampasso received the Sportsmanship Award. Romeo was also a semifinalist for the Mike Richter national goaltender of the year award.
– Ohio State is second in the country in third period goals and has outscored opponents 57-29 in the third period.
– In the last 10 games, Ohio State is 7-2-1, scoring 3.6 goals a game and allowing 1.8. The power play is 9-for-36 (.250) and the penalty kill is 23-for-28 (.821), averaging 6.6 penalty minutes a game and 2.8 power plays faced a game.
Buckeyes vs. Pioneers
– Ohio State trails the all-time series with Denver, 5-6, but has won the last two meetings and is 3-1 in the last four matchups.
– The teams met to open last season Oct. 7, 2016, a 3-2 Ohio State road win in the IceBreaker Tournament hosted by the Pioneers.
– Prior to last season, the teams had two-game series in October 2008 and ’09. The squads met in Denver Oct. 24-25, 2008, with Ohio State losing 3-1 before a 4-3 win in game two. The teams then met in Columbus Oct. 15-16, 2009. In Value City Arena Denver posted a 2-0 win to open the series before the Buckeyes won 4-0 in Nationwide Arena in the finale.
– The teams first met in Denver Nov. 16-17, 1973, 3-2 and 11-4 DU wins. The squads met 10 years after that, with the Buckeyes sweeping with 4-3 and 6-5 wins Dec. 9-10, 1983 in Denver. The teams also met in McNichols Sports Arena in Denver Dec. 28, 1994 in the Denver Cup, a 5-3 Pioneer victory (considered a neutral site matchup).
– The teams also met on neutral ice in Ohio – a 5-2 Denver win Oct. 3, 2003 in the Lefty McFadden College Hockey Invitational in Dayton.
Ohio State vs. Denver – The Last Meeting
– Ohio State topped then-No. 3 ranked Denver 3-2 in the season opener for both teams Oct. 7, 2016 in Denver.
– The Buckeyes scored in the game’s first minute but a Denver goal at 14:06 of the first had the game tied after 20 minutes. Ohio State scored the only goals of the second period to carry a 3-1 lead into intermission. Denver made it a one-goal game with a power play goal 3:32 into the third, but the Buckeyes held strong for the win.
– Buckeye goalie Christian Frey made 16 of his 33 saves in the third period. Matthew Weis had two points on a goal and an assist, while Matt Joyaux and John Wiitala also scored.
Buckeyes in the NCAA Tourney
– Ohio State is making its eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
– The Buckeyes’ win over Princeton Saturday ended a seven-game NCAA losing streak for Ohio State, with six consecutive first round losses.
– The squad’s first trip was in 1998, when it defeated Yale and Michigan State (in 2OT) in the West Regional in Ann Arbor, Mich., to reach the NCAA Frozen Four, where it fell to Boston College in Boston.
– Last season, Ohio State rallied to force overtime against eventual runner-up Minnesota Duluth in Fargo in the West Regional. The Bulldogs prevailed, 3-2, in the extra period.
– This is the Buckeyes’ first trip to the Midwest Regional.
– The Buckeyes have been an at-large team all but one year. The squad won the 2004 CCHA Tournament to claim the league’s automatic bid that season.
– Sixteen current Buckeyes skated in the NCAA Tournament game a year ago. Matt Joyaux and Gordi Myer scored the team’s goals in the 3-2 overtime loss to UMD.
– Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik was the captain on Wisconsin’s 1990 NCAA Championship team. Associate head coach Steve Miller was on the staff of two NCAA championship teams at Denver (2004, ’05) and an assistant coach with Providence’s title winning squad in 2015.
Buckeyes in the 2018 Postseason
– Ohio State is 4-1 in postseason play this year, including three overtime games (with two OT wins).
– The No. 2 seed Buckeyes swept No. 7 Michigan State in a Big Ten Tournament best-of-three quarterfinal series in Value City Arena March 2-3, with a 6-2 win in the opener and 4-3 overtime victory to clinch the series.
– Ohio State hosted the Big Ten Tournament semifinals in Nationwide Arena March 10. Ohio State notched a second straight overtime win, topping No. 3 Michigan, 3-2.
– In the B1G Tournament Championship Game at Notre Dame Saturday, the Buckeyes overcame a 2-0 first period deficit, with Brendon Kearney scoring in the second and Matt Miller tying the game in the third. The Irish prevailed in overtime, 3-2.
– Junior Mason Jobst leads the Buckeyes with four goals and seven points in postseason play this year. Sophomore defenseman Wyatt Ege has a team-high five assists, while he and Jobst are both a team-best +6, followed by Sasha Larocque at +5. Sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski has six points with two goals and four assists in the postseason.
– Nineteen of 20 Buckeye skaters (all but the player who saw action in one game) have posted at least one point during postseason play.
– The Buckeye power play is 7-for-18 (.389) during the five postseason games combined, with the penalty kill 11-for-15 (.733). Against Princeton, Ohio State faced a season-high seven power plays, allowing one goal.
The 2017-18 Buckeyes By the Numbers
– Ohio State has 25 wins this season, the most since the 2005 team was 27-11-4.
– The squad was 21-12-6 last year and now has back-to-back 20+ win seasons for the first time since four in a row from 2002-05 (20, 25, 26, 27).
– The Buckeyes are allowing 2.1 goals per game heading into the NCAA Tournament second round. The lowest team goals-against average in program history was set in 2002-03, when the squad gave up 2.21 goals per game.
– Ohio State is scoring 3.21 goals a game, the fourth year in five under Coach Steve Rohlik the team is averaging 3+ goals a game. Last year’s squad scored 3.92 a game, the most since the 1998 team averaged 3.83 per outing. In the five years prior to Rohlik becoming the head coach the squad averaged more than three goals a game once (3.4 in 2009).
Buckeye This and That
– The Buckeyes have a power play goal in 15 of the last 20 games, going 26-for-79 (.329) in the stretch.
– Matthew Joyaux, who transferred to Ohio State after two years at Miami, marked collegiate game No. 100 Saturday vs. Princeton. He joins eight Buckeyes who have played 100 or more games for the Scarlet and Gray in the Century Club for games played. Of the seniors, Luke Storkis first with 141, followed by Matthew Weis (136), Christian Lampasso (115), Janik Moser (113) and Kevin Miller (112). Juniors Mason Jobst (112), John Wiitala (110) and Sasha Larocque (105) have hit triple digits in games played as well. Junior Brendon Kearney has skated in 99 games as a Buckeye.
– Mason Jobst scored his 20th goal of the season Saturday. He is the third Buckeye with 20 or more goals in the last seven years, joining Ryan Dzingel (22 in 2014) and Nick Schilkey (27 in 2017).