February 15, 2018

No. 6 Buckeyes Travel for B1G Series vs. No. 10/9 Minnesota


Feb. 15, 2018

No. 6 Ohio State at No. 10/9 Minnesota (OSU Game Notes | MINN Game Notes)
Preview video with Coach Bittner, Ege and Romeo

Friday, Feb. 16, 9 p.m. ET | 3M Arena at Mariucci, Minneapolis, Minn.
📺 BTN | 💻 📱  BTN2Go | 📊 Live Stats  | 📻 1460 AM, Buckeye Vision, TuneIn app

Saturday, Feb. 17, 5 p.m. ET  | 3M Arena at Mariucci, Minneapolis, Minn.
📺 ESPNU | 💻 📱  ESPN App, TSN Go | 📊 Live Stats  | 📻 1460 AM, Buckeye Vision, TuneIn app

Setting the Scene
• The No. 6-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team travels for the final regular season road series, taking on No. 10/9 Minnesota this weekend. The Buckeyes (19-7-4, 12-7-1-0 B1G) and Golden Gophers (18-13-1, 9-10-1-1 B1G) will meet at 9 p.m. ET Friday and 5 p.m. ET Saturday at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis.
• This is the second series between the teams this season. Ohio State claimed two games in Columbus Dec. 8-9, with a 2-1 overtime victory and 4-1 win.
• Ohio State clinched a Top 4 spot in the final Big Ten standings and will host a first round series of the Big Ten Tournament March 2-4 in Value City Arena. Notre Dame won the league regular season title and a first round bye. Minnesota is in fourth place, three points back of third-place Michigan. Wisconsin is one point behind the Gophers, with Penn State four points behind Minnesota. Ohio State has a five-point edge over the Wolverines. The Wolverines and Badgers have two games left, while the other five schools have four games remaining.
• The Buckeyes are coming off a two-game split at No. 1 Notre Dame, with a 2-1 loss and 5-1 win. The squad is 7-3 in its last 10 games. Minnesota swept two games at Wisconsin last weekend and is 6-4 in its last 10 games.
• Ohio State is 11-3-1 on the road this year, while Minnesota is 12-5-0 at home.

Follow Along
• The game Friday will be televised by BTN and available on BTN2Go for cable subscribers with BTN as part of their television package. Dan Kelly and Ben Clymer will call the action.
• The Saturday contest will be broadcast by ESPNU and streamed through Watch ESPN, with John Buccigross and Sean Ritchlin providing commentary. It will also be available on TSN Go.
• Ohio State radio will carry the games on 1460 AM in Columbus, through Buckeye Vision on OhioStateBuckeyes.com and on the TuneIn app for mobile devices. Herb Howenstine and John Mowat will be on the call.
• Live stats will be available on GameTracker on OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
• 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.

Heading into this weekend’s B1G series against the Gophers, Coach Bittner previewed the matchup. #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/EwS7ucKCP9

— Ohio State M Hockey (@OhioState_MHKY) February 15, 2018

Buckeye Notes to Know
• Ohio State ranks in the Top 15 in the NCAA on the penalty kill (1st/.904), team defense (6th/2.17 goals allowed per game), power play (11th/.226) and scoring offense (t-15th/3.13 goals per game).
• Three Buckeyes are on the Hobey Baker Award fan ballot and rank among the Top 8 scorers in the Big Ten – Tanner Laczynski is first with 37 points, Matthew Weis is fourth with 33 and Mason Jobst is seventh with 30. In Big Ten play only, all three rank in the Top 6, with Laczynski second with 23 points and Weis and Jobst tied for third with 21 points each. Jobst tied for the Big Ten scoring title a year ago and is second all-time in points in Big Ten games, while Weis ranks seventh all-time in B1G points.
• Ohio State is in the midst of a four-game stretch of road games after splitting two games at Notre Dame last weekend. The squad is 11-3-1 on the road this year, ranking fourth nationally in road winning percentage (.767) and tying for second in road wins.
• When scoring first this season, Ohio State is undefeated (13-0-2). The squad is 6-7-2 when allowing the first tally.
• The Buckeyes were held to one goal Friday at Notre Dame, the first time in 13 games the squad did not score at last two goals. The squad rebounded with five goals in game two vs. the Irish.
• Ohio State was a season-best 6-for-6 on the penalty kill last Friday, topping the 10 5-for-5 outings this year. It was the most power plays faced by the squad this year, which averages 9.6 penalty minutes a night, the fifth-lowest total in the NCAA.
• The Buckeyes have at least one power play goal in nine of the last 11 games, going 17-for-48 (.354) in the stretch.
Sean Romeo had a career-high 39 saves (one 40 shots) in game two at Notre Dame and was named Big Ten Second Star of the Week (for the fourth time this season) after allowing just three total goals in the split vs. the Irish. He is in the Top 10 in goals-against average and save percentage. As a team, Ohio State has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 18 games this year.

In the Rankings
• Ohio State is No. 6 in the USCHO poll for the second straight week (and in the Top 6 for six straight weeks, reaching a season-high No. 5 Jan. 29) and ranked sixth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings for the fifth consecutive week.
• Ohio State has been in the Top 10 for eight consecutive polls, ranked in the USCHO Top 20 for 14 straight polls (and 15 weeks overall) and in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Top 15 for 10 straight rankings. The squad has received votes in every edition of both polls this season.
• Ohio State moved into the Top 10 in both national polls in the last rankings of 2017, coming in at No. 9 in the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls released Dec. 11 and was No. 8 in the first rankings of 2018.
• In the latest USCHO poll, five Big Ten teams are ranked – No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 6 Ohio State, No. 10 Minnesota, No. 16 Penn State and No. 18 Michigan, with Wisconsin receiving votes.
• In the latest USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, Notre Dame is No. 1, Ohio State is No. 6 and Minnesota is No. 9. Penn State and Michigan are receiving votes.

Just the Stats
• Ohio State is averaging 3.13 goals a game and is allowing 2.17 goals per outing, ranking sixth nationally in scoring defense and tying for 15th in scoring offense.
• The Buckeye power play is 28-for-124 (.226) on the year, with a power play goal in nine of the last 11 games. The squad is 11th in the NCAA with the man advantage.
•The penalty kill has stopped 104-of-115 opponent opportunities (.904), ranking first in the NCAA. The squad averages 9.6 penalty minutes per game.
• Ohio State is averaging 32.5 shots on goal a game and allowing 28.4 shots on goal a night.
• Sophomore Tanner Laczynski is first on the squad with 25 assists and 37 points. Junior Mason Jobst is first with 13 goals, followed by Laczynski with 12, Dakota Joshua with 11 and Matthew Weis and Freddy Gerard with 10 each. Senior Matthew Weis is second with 23 assists and 33 points, with Jobst third with 17 helpers and 30 points.
• Sophomore Matt Miller leads the Buckeye blueliners with 12 points and junior Sasha Larocque has a team-high 61 blocked shots.
• In goal, redshirt junior Sean Romeo has started 27 games and has a 2.10 goals-against average and .925 save percentage, with a 16-7-4 record. Freshman Tommy Nappier has three starts and five appearances, posting a 1.86 goals-against average and .943 save percentage, with three wins.

Last Time Out – Buckeyes Split with No. 1 Irish
• Ohio State and Notre Dame split a series last weekend. The Irish won game one (to clinch the Big Ten regular season title) and the Buckeyes won the second game (clinching home ice for the first round of the Big Ten tournament).
• Game One (No. 1 Notre Dame 2, No. 6 Ohio State 1): Notre Dame scored the only goal of the first period. The Buckeyes tied the game at 6:52 of the second with a power play goal by Kevin Miller, but the Irish responded less than three minutes later with the goal standing as the eventual gamewinner. Neither team scored in the third, with each squad putting 11 shots on net.
• Ohio State was 6-for-6 on the penalty kill in the game, including two 5-on-3 stops, while goalie Sean Romeo made 27 saves for the Buckeyes.
• Game Two (No. 6 Ohio State 5, No. 1 Notre Dame 1): Ohio State led 1-0 after the first period on a goal by Matthew Weis. The Buckeyes extended the lead to 2-0 in the second, but the Irish scored on the power play at 17:35 for a 2-1 game entering the third. Ohio State lit the lamp three times in the third, with Kevin Miller and Sam McCormick scoring less than a minute apart at 6:56 and 7:53 and Brendon Kearney tallying into an empty net late. Ohio State was outshot 40-38 and goalie Sean Romeo made a career-high 39 saves, including 22 in the second period. Senior Luke Stork had two assists in the win, while Kearney added an assist for a two-point night. Seventeen of 18 skaters were +1 or better in the game, with 12 posting at least one point.

In the B1G
• Heading into this weekend, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Penn State and Michigan State have four Big Ten games left, while Wisconsin and Michigan each have two games remaining.
• In addition to the Ohio State at Minnesota series this weekend, Penn State travels to Michigan State and Notre Dame and Michigan meet Friday in Notre Dame and Sunday in Ann Arbor.
• Notre Dame clinched the regular season title and has 50 points and a 16-3-1-1 ledger. Ohio State is in second with 37 points (12-7-1-0), with Michigan third (9-10-3-2, 32 points), Minnesota fourth (9-10-1-1, 29), Wisconsin fifth (8-11-3-1, 28) and Penn State sixth (6-9-5-2, 25). Michigan State has 15 points with a 4-14-2-1 ledger.
• Ohio State has clinched a Top 4 spot and will host a first round series of the tournament, while the other home ice positions have not yet been solidified. The Gophers, Wolverines, Badgers and Nittany Lions are all still in contention for a home ice spot.
• With the addition of Notre Dame to the league this year, the conference has changed its postseason format, going to a three-round tournament on campus sites. The No. 1 seed will receive a first round bye, with Nos. 2-4 hosting 5-7 in best of three quarterfinal series March 2-4. The highest remaining seeds will then host single game semifinals March 10 before a championship game hosted by the highest remaining seed March 17.
• Teams face each other four times – twice at home and twice on the road. Penn State was the first Big Ten team Ohio State wrapped its season series with, followed by Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and now Minnesota.

Buckeyes in the B1G
• In Big Ten games only, Ohio State leads the conference teams in scoring offense (3.25 goals per game), power play (21-for-81, .259) and penalty kill (68-for-71, .919) and ranks second in scoring defense (2.50 goals allowed per game).
• In conference games only, three of the Top 6 scorers in the Big Ten are Buckeyes. Tanner Laczynski is second with 23 points. Mason Jobst has a 10-11-21 line and Matthew Weis has posted 4-17-21 totals to tie for third among all conference skaters. Jobst and Freddy Gerard (who leads B1G skaters with a +13 mark) are tied for third with 10 goals each, with Dakota Joshua tied for sixth with nine. Weis is second with 17 assists, followed by Laczynski tied for third with 16.
• Junior Mason Jobst has 75 points in 59 career Big Ten games, the second-highest career total among all Big Ten players since the league began in 2013-14. Justin Kloos of Minnesota holds the record, with 86 points over four years and 80 games. Jobst is second all-time with 32 goals in B1G play, behind Buckeye Nick Schilkey, who had 36 from 2013-17. Last year, Jobst and Minnesota’s Tyler Sheehy shared the Big Ten Scoring Leader award with 34 points each in Big Ten play. Buckeye Ryan Dzingel was the league’s leading scorer in B1G in games in 2014 with 24.
• Among players with 30+ B1G games played, Jobst ranks first with 1.27 points per game in league play. He is tied with Schilkey for the league record with 14 career power play goals.
• Senior Matthew Weis is seventh all-time with 66 points in Big Ten outings (in 73 games) and his 48 career assists rank second all-time behind Kloos.

Buckeyes vs. Gophers
• The series between Ohio State and Minnesota dates to 1968 but 28 of the 34 games have been since 1999. Ohio State is 7-26-1 all-time vs. the Gophers but is 4-1 in the last five meetings. In Big Ten regular season play, Minnesota leads the series, 12-5-1.
• In December Ohio State posted two wins over Minnesota in Columbus, with a 2-1 overtime victory and 4-1 win. It was the first sweep in program history of the Gophers.
• The teams last met in Minneapolis Dec. 2-3, 2016, splitting the series, with a 5-3 Minnesota win and 8-3 Ohio State victory.
• Junior Mason Jobst leads the Buckeyes with eight goals and 14 points (in 11 games) vs. Minnesota. Senior Matthew Weis has 13 points, with a team-best 11 assists (in 13 games).Sophomore Tanner Laczynski has a 4-6-10 line in six games vs. Minnesota and senior Luke Stork, who leads the current Buckeyes with 15 games played vs. Minnesota, has eight assists and nine points.
• Three current Buckeyes call Minnesota home – junior forward John Wiitala is from Lakeville and played for Lakeville South, while his classmate Miguel Fidler is from Edina and won Minnesota state tournament titles with Edina High School in 2013 and `14. Wyatt Ege, a sophomore transfer, hails from Elk River and graduated from Elk River High School.
• Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik is a Saint Paul native and graduate of Hill-Murray High School. Rohlik served as the head coach at his alma mater, as well as spent a year coaching at Stillwater High School, before joining the collegiate coaching ranks full time. As a coach, Rohlik led Hill-Murray to two state tournament appearances, including a runner-up finish in 1993.
Dustin Carlson, a Buckeye from 2008-11 who is now the team’s volunteer coach, is a native of Forest Lake, Minn.

Complete notes and statistics in the PDF above