January 1, 2020

Buckeyes Set for Fortress Invitational in Vegas


COLUMBUS, Ohio — The No. 6/7 Ohio State men’s hockey team (12-4-2, 6-3-1-0 B1G) travels to Las Vegas this weekend for the Fortress Invitational in T-Mobile Arena, home of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. All games will be streamed through FloHockey.com, with live stats also available.

Ohio State will take on No. 2 Cornell (10-1-0) in the first round at 11:30 p.m. ET Friday and then face No. 14 Providence (10-5-4) or No. 20 Army West Point (13-5-1) Saturday. The championship game is set for 8:30 p.m. ET, with the consolation to follow.

Gameday Links

Buckeye Notes to Know

  • Ohio State is tied for sixth nationally with 12 wins and enters the weekend on a seven-game unbeaten streak, the third longest active streak nationally.
  • The Buckeyes are averaging 2.78 goals a game and are tied for fourth nationally in team defense, allowing 1.78 goals per game. Both the power play (.231) and penalty kill (.862) are in the Top 15 nationally.
  • Freshman Layton Ahac was a third-round pick of the Vegas Golden Knights over the summer. Wyatt Ege and Gustaf Westlund have both attended the Knights’ development camp as free agent invitees.
  • Tanner Laczynski is second among active NCAA skaters in career points (127) and leads all seniors with 1.06 points per game. He has a team-best 12 assists and 18 points this year.
  • The Buckeyes enter the Fortress Invitational on a seven-game unbeaten streak, the longest of the season. The squad is 6-0-1 in its last seven outings, including a sweep of Colgate last weekend to open the second half.
  • Ohio State has allowed two or fewer goals in 15 of 18 games this season and is allowing 1.78 goals per contest. Tommy Nappier is in the Top 15 nationally with a 1.78 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in 17 games played.
  • Ohio State has played in 10 one-goal games this season, with a 6-4 record in those outings. On the year, just two of the Buckeyes’ 18 games have been decided by more than two goals.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Buckeye Snapshot

  • Ohio State is 12-4-2 on the year, with a 6-3-1-0 record in Big Ten play. The squad enters the weekend on a seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1), which came after a three-game losing streak.
  • The Buckeyes are scoring 2.78 goals a game this season, while allowing 1.78 a night to tie for fourth nationally in team defense. The power play is 13th in the nation, converting 23.1 percent (18-for-78) and Ohio State has stopped 56-of-65 (.862) opponent power play chances to tie for 13th in the NCAA.
  • Senior Tanner Laczynski is first on the team with 12 assists and 18 points. Sophomore Gustaf Westlund has a team-best nine goals and is second with 17 points. Sophomore Quinn Preston is second with seven goals, followed by Laczynski with six and senior Carson Meyer with five. Westlund is second with eight assists, Meyer has seven and defensemen Wyatt Ege and Grant Gabriele each have six.
  • Senior Gordi Myer leads the squad with 37 blocked shots, followed by junior Grant Gabriele with 26. Senior Ronnie Hein has 22 to rank third and lead the Buckeye forwards.
  • In goal, junior Tommy Nappier has a 1.78 goals-against average and .937 save percentage, ranking in the Top 10 nationally, posting a 10-4-2 record in 17 games. Freshman Ryan Snowden has a .75 goals-against average and .976 save percentage, notching a 2-0-0 record, in two appearances.

In the Polls

  • The Buckeyes are ranked sixth in the USCHO.com poll and seventh in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings this week. Last week, the squad was tied for sixth in the USCHO rankings and it was seventh in the other poll.
  • Big Ten teams joining the Buckeyes in the USCHO poll include No. 8 Penn State, No. 15 Notre Dame and No. 18 Michigan State.
  • No. 8 Penn State joins Ohio State in the USA Today Top 15, with Notre Dame the first team receiving votes.
  • Ohio State is one of five schools with its men’s and women’s programs in the Top 10 of the USCHO polls, with the Buckeye women No. 5. Joining Ohio State are Cornell (No. 2 men, No. 4 women), Clarkson (No. 4/6), Boston College (No. 5/9) and Minnesota Duluth (No. 10/10).

Tourney Time

  • This is the second tournament for the Buckeyes this season. The squad opened the year winning the Ice Breaker in Toledo, with a tie (and shootout goal) vs. Western Michigan and a victory over RIT.
  • The last winter holiday tournament for the Ohio State squad was the 2015 Everblades College Classic in Estero, Fla., where Ohio State topped Boston College and Cornell for the title. Providence was also in the field of that tournament.
  • This is the third edition of the Fortress Invitational, which used to be known as the Ice Vegas Invitational. Western Michigan won the 2019 tournament and Arizona State claimed the inaugural tournament title in 2018.
  • The Buckeyes last played in an NHL arena March 10, 2017, when they defeated Michigan in a Big Ten Tournament semifinal game, 3-2 in overtime in Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

Ohio State and the VGK

  • Buckeye freshman defenseman Layton Ahac was drafted by Las Vegas in the third round of the NHL Entry Draft over the summer. He is the highest draft pick on this year’s Buckeye squad.
  • Ahac has played in all 18 games this season, with two assists and a +6 rating.
  • Ohio State sophomore Gustaf Westlund joined Ahac at the Golden Knights’ development camp over the summer. Westlund, a free agent invitee, leads Ohio State with nine goals and is second with 17 points.
  • Buckeye redshirt senior defenseman Wyatt Ege participated in the VGK development camps in both 2017 and ’18 as an invitee. He has a 3-6-9 line in 17 games this year.
Ohio State Buckeyes

Buckeyes vs. Big Red

  • Ohio State is 7-6-0 all-time vs. Cornell, with a 5-4-0 edge in neutral site games. The teams last met Dec. 29, 2015 in the Everblades College Classic championship game in Estero, Fla., an 8-0 Buckeye win. That was the first game between the teams in nearly 10 years.
  • Friday will be the fourth straight neutral site game between the programs. The squads met Dec. 28, 2003, in the Everblades College Classic, a 4-3 Cornell win in overtime and March 27, 2005, the Big Red posted a 3-2 victory in an NCAA Tournament game in Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Miguel Fidler, a redshirt senior, is the only Ohio State player to skate against any of the Fortress Invitational teams as a Buckeye. His freshman year, he had three assists in the win over Cornell and he skated in game two at Providence, but did not record a point.

The Cornell Big Red

  • Cornell is 10-1-0 on the year, with its lone loss a 2-1 defeat to Dartmouth in its last time out Dec. 7.
  • The squad is in the Top 5 nationally in scoring offense (3.82 goals per game) and scoring defense (1.36 goals allowed per game). The power play is 12-for-47 (.255) and the penalty kill is 28-for-37 (.757).

Buckeyes vs. Friars

  • Ohio State will take on Providence or Army West Point on day two of the tournament.
  • Against Providence, the Buckeyes trail the series, 3-4-0. The squads met in nonconference series back-to-back years. Oct. 10-11, 2014 in Columbus, the teams split overtime games, with a 5-4 OT Buckeye win and 2-1 OT Friar victory. The next year in Providence, the Friars, the defending NCAA champions, swept the Buckeyes, with 2-1 and 6-4 victories. The teams have never met at a neutral site.
  • Ohio State associate head coach Steve Miller, who is with Team USA at the World Junior Championship, was on the Friars’ staff when the team won the 2015 NCAA title.

Buckeyes vs. Black Knights

  • The Buckeyes have played Army West Point just twice, with a 6-1 win in Columbus in the Ohio Hockey Classic Jan. 2, 2009 and a 5-3 victory in the Catamount Cup in Burlington, Vt., Jan. 2, 2011.
Ohio State Buckeyes

The Schedule Ahead

  • Big Ten play resumes with two games at Wisconsin Jan. 10-11.
  • Ohio State will be back in Columbus to host Notre Dame Jan. 16-17.

Ticket Talk

Single game, miniplan and group tickets for the Buckeyes’ 2019-20 season are available. They can be purchased online (HERE) or by contacting a ticket sales representative by calling 1-800-GO-BUCKS (select option 2) or emailing AthleticSales@osu.edu.

Full notes in the PDF linked above