January 3, 2018

No. 8 Ohio State Travels for B1G Series at Michigan State


Jan. 3, 2018

No. 8 Ohio State vs. Michigan State (Ohio State PDF Game Notes Gameweek Video)
Friday, Jan. 5 | 7:05 p.m. |  Munn Ice Arena | East Lansing, Mich.
Watch: BTN Plus on BTN2Go | Live Stats  | Radio: 1460 AM, Buckeye Vision, TuneIn app

Saturday, Jan. 6 | 7:05 p.m. | Munn Ice Arena | East Lansing, Mich.
Watch: BTN Plus on BTN2Go | Live Stats  | Radio: 1460 AM, Buckeye Vision, TuneIn app

Setting the Scene
• The No. 8-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team returns to Big Ten play this weekend with a series at Michigan State. The Buckeyes (12-4-4, 5-4-1-0 B1G) and Spartans (8-11-1, 2-7-1-1 B1G) will meet at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, Mich.
• The games will be streamed through BTN Plus on BTN2Go online and for mobile devices.
• 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.
• 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.

Head coach Steve Rohlik and the Buckeyes return to B1G play with a series at Michigan State this weekend. #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/OxnP0lgesW

— Ohio State M Hockey (@OhioState_MHKY) January 4, 2018

In the Rankings
• Ohio State moved into the Top 10 in both national polls in the final rankings of 2017, coming in at No. 9 in the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls released Dec. 11 and were up one to No. 8 in the first rankings of 2018 released Tuesday.
• The Buckeyes started the year ranked 19th in the USCHO poll, but dropped into the receiving votes category for three polls in a row. The squad moved back into the Top 20 at No. 16 Oct. 30 and remained ranked, moving to a then-high of 11th Nov. 27.
• Ohio State was in the receiving votes category of the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Top 15 poll through each of the first nine polls. The Buckeyes entered the poll Nov. 27 at No. 13.
• In the latest USCHO poll, five Big Ten teams are ranked – No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 8 Ohio State, No. 10 Minnesota, No. 14 Penn State and No. 15 Wisconsin. Michigan is receiving votes.
• In the last USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, Notre Dame is No. 1, Ohio State is No. 8, Minnesota is No. 10, Penn State is No. 13 and Wisconsin is No. 15.

Buckeye Notes to Know
• Ohio State is 12-4-4 on the year and enters the series at Michigan State on a four-game winning streak after sweeps of Minnesota before break (Dec. 8-9) and Niagara last week. In their last 10 games, the Buckeyes are 7-1-2.
• The Buckeyes played their last six games at home. The squad’s last road games were a road sweep at Michigan Nov. 24-25. The Buckeyes are 5-3-3 at home this season and are 7-1-1 on the road, tying Maine (5-1-0) for second nationally in road winning percentage (.833) behind 8-0-0 Notre Dame.
• The sweep of Niagara closed nonconference play for the Buckeyes. The squad was 7-0-3 in out of league games this season (3-0-2 at home, 4-0-1 away), joining 5-0-2 St. Cloud State as the two teams nationally without a nonconference loss. The Buckeyes rank third in the NCAA in nonconference winning percentage (.850).
• Ohio State is first in the NCAA on the penalty kill and ranks fourth in scoring defense. The team has allowed two or fewer goals in 13 games and is holding opponents to 2.05 goals a game. The squad has stopped 69-of-75 (.920) opponent power play chances.
• Michigan State is the only Big Ten team Ohio State has not yet faced this season. The squad posted sweeps over Michigan and Minnesota, split at Wisconsin, was 0-1-1 vs. Penn State and lost two games to Notre Dame in the first half of the year for a 5-4-1 B1G mark.
• When scoring first this season, Ohio State is undefeated (8-0-2). The squad is 4-4-2 when allowing the first tally. The team has 13 first period goals this year and has led after the first period in seven of 20 games.
• Buckeye associate head coach Steve Miller is currently with Team USA on the staff for the World Junior Championship as an assistant coach. He was part of the gold medal winning team last year, along with current Buckeye sophomore Tanner Laczynski.
• Sophomore Tanner Laczynski leads Ohio State with 16 assists and 25 points, with all 25 points coming in his last 16 games. Mason Jobst is second with 21 points and shares the team goal lead with Laczynski with nine each.
• Redshirt junior goalie Sean Romeo has started 18 of 20 games and is in the Top 10 nationally in goals-against average (1.93) and save percentage (.928), with 30 or more saves in six of the last seven games.

Just the Stats
• Ohio State is averaging 2.8 goals a game and is allowing 2.05 goals per outing, ranking fourth nationally in scoring defense.
• The Buckeye power play is 13-for-81 (.160) on the year, with a power play goal in five of the last eight games.
•The penalty kill has stopped 69-of-75 opponent opportunities (.920), ranking first in the NCAA. The squad averages 9.8 penalty minutes per game.
• Ohio State is averaging 32.8 shots on goal a game and allowing 27.9 shots on goal a night.
• Sophomore Tanner Laczynski and junior Mason Jobst share the team goal lead with nine each. Laczynski is first with 16 assists and 25 points. Jobst and senior Matthew Weis are tied for second with 12 assists each. Weis is third with 19 points. Weis is third with seven goals, followed by senior Christian Lampasso with six. Sophomore Matt Miller leads the blueliners with five goals and nine points and junior Sasha Larocque has a team-high 49 blocked shots.
• In goal, redshirt junior Sean Romeo has started 18 of 20 games and has a 1.93 goals-against average and .928 save percentage, with a 10-4-4 record. Freshman Tommy Nappier has two starts and three appearances, posting a 2.35 goals-against average and .928 save percentage, with two wins.

Last Time Out – Buckeyes Sweep Purple Eagles
• The Buckeyes notched two wins over Niagara last weekend in their first games back from break.
• Game 1 (Ohio State 3, Niagara 2): Ohio State scored twice in 31 seconds toward the end of the first period for a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, with Matt Miller and Sam McCormick tallying. Niagara scored the only goal of the second (on the power play) and tied the game at 14:43 of the third. With time running out, Matthew Weis, Freddy Gerard and Tanner Laczynski combined for the gamewinning goal, breaking the tie with 6.3 seconds left in regulation when Laczynski notched his ninth goal of the year. Ohio State outshot Niagara, 32-30, with Sean Romeo making 28 saves for the Buckeyes. In all, nine Buckeyes had a point in the win.
• Game 2 (Ohio State 4, Niagara 1): Just one minute into the game Matt Miller put the Buckeyes on the board and Matthew Weis followed with a power play goal at 7:02 for a 2-0 Buckeye advantage. Midway through the first period the Buckeyes killed a five-minute major, including nearly a minute of 5-on-3 advantage. Late in the period Niagara got on the board for a one-goal game through 20 minutes. Weis scored the only goal of the second period and Ohio State outshot the Purple Eagles 16-4 in the stanza for a 3-1 Buckeye advantage heading into the third. John Wiitala gave the Buckeyes a three-goal edge with an early goal in the third, set up by Ronnie Hein, his third of three assists (all first assists) in the game. Freshman Tommy Nappier made 27 saves in his second career start, including stopping all 12 shots he faced in the third. The Buckeyes ended the game 4-for-4 on the penalty kill and 2-for-5 on the power play to win the special teams battle.

Buckeyes vs. Spartans
• In a series that dates to 1964, Ohio State trails the all-time series with Michigan State, 38-87-12, but has the edge in the last 10, 7-2-1.
• In East Lansing, the Spartans hold a 47-14-6 advantage. The Buckeyes are 3-0-1 in the last four games on MSU’s home ice. Last season, Ohio State posted a two-game sweep Feb. 17-18, 2017 (3-2, 4-3) and March 11-12, 2016, the Buckeyes won game one in overtime (6-5) before the teams skated to a 1-1 overtime tie.
• Last year, the Buckeyes were 4-1-0 vs. the Spartans. The last meeting was in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals March 16, 2017, a 6-3 Buckeye victory in Detroit. The teams first met in East Lansing Feb. 17-18, 2017, with Ohio State posting a sweep. In Columbus March 3-4, 2017, the Spartans won game one, 5-4, before a 5-3 Buckeye victory in the finale.
• The 6-3 win in the last game ended a streak of 10 straight games between the teams decided by two or fewer goals (with six one-goal games and a tie in the stretch).
• Five Buckeyes call Michigan home – juniors Dakota Joshua (Dearborn) and Brendon Kearney (Northville), sophomore Ronnie Hein (Chelsea) and freshmen Grant Gabriele (Brighton) and Michael Rounds (Mt. Pleasant).
• Among current Buckeyes against Michigan State, junior Mason Jobst has a team-best seven goals and 13 points and shares the team assist lead with sophomore Dakota Joshua with six each. Joshua and senior Matthew Weis (3g, 5a) are tied for second with eight points vs. the Spartans. Senior Luke Stork has played a team-high 14 games vs. Michigan State, with classmate Kevin Miller skating in 13 games vs. the Spartans.

OSU vs. MSU – The Last Time
• Ohio State defeated Michigan State 6-3 in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Tournament at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit March 16, 2017, in the last meeting between the teams.
• The Buckeyes led 2-0 less than six minutes into the game on goals from Mason Jobst and Nick Schilkey, but the Spartans answered with the next three for a 3-2 lead after the opening period. Ohio State did not allow a goal the rest of the way, tying the game on a Brendon Kearney goal at 13:54 of the second. The Buckeyes scored three times in the first 3:51 of the third period, with two goals from David Gust and a tally by Tanner Laczynski, to pull away. Buckeye senior goalie Matt Tomkins had 26 saves in the game.

Spartan Stuff
• Michigan State is 8-11-1 overall this season and has a 2-7-1-1 mark in Big Ten play. At home, the Spartans are 7-3-0.
• The squad last played Monday and Tuesday in the Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit, suffering losses to Michigan Tech (5-2) and Michigan (6-4). MSU’s last Big Ten games were Dec. 7-8, a 4-0 road loss and 5-0 home win against the Wolverines.
• Michigan State is averaging 2.45 goals a game and allowing 3.05 a contest. The power play is 18-for-77 (.234) and the penalty kill is 52-for-65 (.800). The Spartans average 26.9 shots on goal per game and allow 29.4 a night.
• Taro Hirose is first on the team with 17 assists and 24 points. Mitchell Lewandowski has a team-high 10 goals, ranking second with 13 assists and 23 points. Patrick Khodorenko is second with nine goals, followed by Hirose with seven.
• In goal, John Lethemon has played in 20 games, with an 8-10-1 record, posting a 2.58 goals-against average and .910 save percentage, with three shutouts.