COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 7 Ohio State men’s hockey team closed out the regular season with a 3-2 loss to Michigan State Saturday in Value City Arena. Ohio State heads into postseason play 20-9-5 overall, its third consecutive 20-win season.
The eight members of the Buckeye senior class – Freddy Gerard, Mason Jobst, Dakota Joshua, Brendon Kearney, Sasha Larocque, Tommy Parran, Sean Romeo and John Wiitala – were recognized pregame. Postgame, a banner ceremony was held to celebrate the team’s Big Team regular season championship, the first in program history.
The Buckeyes will be the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and receive a first round bye. Ohio State will host a tournament semifinal game at 3:30 p.m. March 17 in Value City Arena against the lowest remaining seed from the first round. Should Ohio State advance to the final, it will be held at noon March 24 in Value City Arena.
Quoting Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik
On the Big Ten regular season title
“Sometimes as a coach, and maybe the players too, you get caught up in the grind and what’s next. Sometimes you have to take a minute and sit back and realize what an accomplishment these guys did this year. You’re talking 50 years. To have their names etched in the history of OSU hockey to me is really what it’s all about. I’m really proud of these guys and proud of my staff.”
Michigan State 3, Ohio State 2
In the first … The teams combined for 21 shots – 11 for Michigan State, 10 for Ohio State – in the first period, but were unable to find the back of the net.
In the second … The Buckeyes and Spartans traded power play goals in the stanza. Michigan State opened the scoring on a goal from Patrick Khodorenko at 5:52. At 10:37, Wyatt Ege took a pass from Quinn Preston and wristed a shot past the MSU goalie. Tanner Laczynski also assisted on the tally, Ege’s second of the year. Each team had six shots in the period.
In the third … Just 1:02 into the period Mitchell Lewandowski put the Spartans ahead, scoring on a rebound, and Brody Stevens added a goal at 8:38 for a two-goal cushion. The Buckeyes pulled their goalie for the extra attacker with more than three minutes remaining and were able to draw within one at 17:13, when Laczynski scored from just outside the crease, assisted by John Wiitala and Matt Miller, but could get no closer. The Buckeyes put 18 shots on net in the stanza, with MSU getting eight through.
Shots … Ohio State outshot Michigan State, 34-25, in the game. Sean Romeo made 22 saves in 56:38 for the Buckeyes. MSU’s John Lethemon had 32 saves in 60 minutes. The Buckeyes blocked 14 shots, led by Sasha Larocque with four and Ege with three.
Special Teams … Each team was 1-for-4 on the power play.
Buckeye This and That … The Buckeyes finished Big Ten play in first place for the first time, with a nine-point lead on second … Mason Jobst led the Buckeyes with 28 points in B1G games (13g, 15) and ends his career as the Big Ten record holder in career goals (48) and points (108) and second in assists (60); he averaged 1.24 points per game over his 87-game B1G career … Laczynski had a team-high four points in the series and is second on the team with 30 points, ranking first with 20 assists; it was his 10th multiple-point game of the year and his fifth in his last seven games, with 12 points in the seven games combined (4g, 8a) … Miller, who has a point in 11 of the last 13 games, leads the Buckeye defensemen with 22 points this season … Wiitala has a point in three straight games (2g, 2a, 4p) and has an 8-8-16 line this year … the game was the 100th career collegiate game for both Laczynski and Carson Meyer.