The No. 17 Ohio State men’s hockey team is back in action this weekend, hosting LIU in Value City Arena in The Schottenstein Center.
The teams will meet in a New Year’s Eve contest at 5 p.m. Friday and kick off 2022 with a 3 p.m. game on New Year’s Day Saturday.
The games will be streamed through Big Ten Plus (subscription required).
University and City of Columbus policies are to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. The department encourages and urges all patrons at our events to wear your mask at all times for your own safety and for the health, safety and well-being of others, including our student-athletes, campus community and visitors.
Tickets are available online at OhioStateBuckeyes.com and at the ticket office on game night. Parking is free in gameday lots. TICKET INFORMATION
Buckeye This and That
Ohio State enters the weekend 12-6 overall, with its last games a sweep of a home-and-home series vs. Bowling Green Dec. 16-17. LIU is 4-10-3 and last played Dec. 10-11, dropping two games against Quinnipiac in a home-and-home matchup.
This is the first series between the Buckeyes and LIU Sharks, who are in their second year as a Division I program.
Ohio State is on a three-game winning streak, with a win over Michigan and the sweep of the Falcons.
This year, 23 Buckeyes – including every skater with more than two games played – have posted at least one point. Eighteen have at least one goal and 23 have one or more assists.
The Buckeyes have scored three or more goals in 13 of 18 games this year and are averaging 3.39 goals a night.
The defense has held opponents to two or less goals in 12 of 18 games and is allowing 2.33 goals per game overall.
Of the Buckeyes’ 12 wins this season, four gamewinners have been scored in the third period, along with two overtime victories. Ohio State has outscored opponents 30-12 in the third period this year.
From the Stat Sheet
Rookie forward Georgii Merkulov leads the Buckeyes with seven goals and 17 points and is tied for second with 10 assists.
Freshman defenseman Mason Lohrei is first with 12 assists and second with 15 points.
Senior Jake Wise is third with a 4-10-14 line, while freshman Cam Thiesing and senior Grant Gabriele are tied for fourth with 11 points each, on three goals and eight assists apiece.
Gabriele is first with a +14 rating and Ryan O’Connell leads the squad with 25 shot blocks, with Will Riedell second with 23.
In goal, Jakub Dobeš is 12-5-0, with a 2.23 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.
As a team (through games of Dec. 28), the Buckeyes are in the Top 15 in the NCAA in faceoff winning percentage (4th/.548), winning percentage (12th/.667), scoring defense (14th/2.33), scoring margin (15th/1.06), and scoring offense (15th/3.39).
Buckeyes vs. Sharks
This weekend marks the first games between Ohio State and LIU.
The Sharks have already faced Big Ten teams Penn State (twice) and Notre Dame this season and traveled to Miami to face the RedHawks Thanksgiving weekend, going 1-4 in those contests, with the win over Miami.
LIU, 4-10-3 on the year, is scoring 2.59 goals a game and allowing 3.65 per contest. The power play has converted 16.3 percent of its chances and the penalty kill has stopped 71.8 percent of its opponents’ chances.
Billy Jerry has a team-high 10 assists and 14 points and Jordan Timmons is first with six goals.
Last Time Out
The Buckeyes swept Bowling Green, with a come from behind 4-3 overtime win in Columbus Dec. 16 and a 3-2 victory in Bowling Green Dec. 27.
Game One: Bowling Green scored twice in the final 5:59 of the first period and extended the lead to 3-0 at 10:25 of the second, outshooting the Buckeyes through 40 minutes, 25-13. Buckeye graduate student Will Riedell tallied on the power play at 2:39 of the third and senior Jake Wise followed 1:10 later for a one-goal game. At 17:42 freshman Georgii Merkulov deadlocked the score at three. Senior Gustaf Westlund notched the gamewinner at 1:55 of overtime. Freshman goalie Jakub Dobeš made 30 saves in the victory. Senior Quinn Preston had two assists in the game, while Wise and Westlund both had two-point nights with a goal and an assist.
Game Two: The first four goals were all on the power play, with Bowling Green going ahead twice. The Falcons netted the only goal of the first period at 14:19. At 6:10 of the second Grant Gabriele tied the game for the Buckeyes, but Bowling Green answered less than two minutes later for a 2-1 advantage at 7:49. Merkulov deadlocked the score at two at the 13:10 mark. In the third, Buckeye freshman Cam Thiesing tallied the eventual gamewinner at 6:37. In the final minute Dobeš stopped a penalty shot to maintain the Buckeyes’ one-goal lead, one of his career-high 42 saves in the win. Merkulov had a career-best three points with a goal and two assists, while Gabriele had a two-point night with a goal and a helper.
Stars of the Series
Because Ohio State was the only Big Ten team in action the week it played BG, the conference did not select Stars of the Week.
Among the Buckeye standouts in the series vs. Bowling Green …
Georgii Merkulov had a team-best four points, with two goals and two assists. In game one he tied the score in the third period as the Buckeyes came back to win. In the second game, he had a career-best two assists and three points, setting up the first goal, scoring the game-tying goal in the second and assisting on the gamewinner in the third.
Grant Gabriele had three points in the sweep, with an assist in game one and goal and a helper in game two.
Jake Wise had a three-point weekend, with a goal and an assist in the first game and a helper in game two.
Jakub Dobeš had 72 saves on 77 shots for a 2.46 goals-against average and .935 save percentage. In the second game he had a career-high 42 stops, including on a third period penalty shot to hold the Buckeyes’ one-goal lead in the final minute.
Gustaf Westlund had an assist and scored the overtime winner Dec. 16. The Dec. 17 contest was career game No. 100 for the senior.
Three of the Buckeyes’ four series in January will be on the road. The squad will play at Wisconsin Jan. 7-8, host Notre Dame Jan. 14-15 and then head to Michigan State Jan. 21-22 and to Penn State Jan. 28-29.
The Buckeyes and Badgers will meet at 8 p.m. ET Jan. 7 and at 7 p.m. ET Jan. 8 in Madison, Wis. The games will be televised by Bally Sports Wisconsin Plus, with the coverage picked up in Ohio on Bally Sports Great Lakes and streamed through BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app and Big Ten Plus (using pay-tv credentials). Ohio State Radio will also carry the action.