Feb. 17, 2018
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – When their team needed them the most, senior captains John Kelly and Colin Chell delivered. The duo scored back to back goals with inside of six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to lift No. 6 Ohio State (3-0) to a gritty 9-7 win over Hofstra on Saturday afternoon in front of a sold-out crowd at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
THE SHORT STORY
Kelly and Chell’s goals were backed up by a fourth quarter defensive effort – led by senior Erik Evans and Ben Randall – that held Hofstra scoreless for nearly 14 minutes. The Buckeyes raced out to an early 5-0 lead after one quarter and never trailed, but needed the momentum-changing scores from Kelly and Chell in the fourth quarter to secure its third win of the season. Ohio State improved to 22-0 all-time at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and improved its overall home record to 34-10 since 2013.
THE TURNING POINT
Hofstra scored a man-up goal in the opening 30 seconds of the fourth quarter to draw to within one, 7-6, but the Buckeyes’ defense would tighten as it clung to the lead. Finally, with 5:38 remaining, Kelly netted his sixth goal of the year as he beat Hofstra goalie Jack Concannon to make the score 8-6, and Chell then extended the lead to 9-6 on the next possession with an unassisted tally around the right end of the cage at the 3:11 mark.
Hofstra won the ensuing face-off with a little over three minutes to play, but failed to score on a man-up opportunity with inside of two minutes to play. Ryan Tierney made the score 9-7 with 49 seconds remaining, but Ohio State won the next face-off and ran the remainder of the clock out.
Head coach Nick Myers: “We knew Hofstra was very talented and we’d see great fight out of them and we did. I’m really proud of the way the men responded. We hung in there and showed a lot of fight. Defensively we were very sound, starting in the cage with [Matthew] Smidt and a veteran core with the in front of him. To see two seniors – Johnny [Kelly] and Colin [Chell] – hit those two goals really put the game away. You have to lean on seniors and they certainly stepped up and got it done for us today.”
Senior Colin Chell: “Johnny had a great goal to get the momentum started. We were a little slow on that end in the fourth quarter and that goal got things clicking.”
Senior Erik Evans: “Our coaching staff did a great job of preparing us all week. They had a great scheme for us and we went out and trusted their coaching. The rest took care of itself.”
ANOTHER FAST START
Just like last week, Ohio State got off to a fast start. Today, it scored five times in the first period, starting with Tre Leclaire‘s team-leading seventh goal of the season coming with 13:20 to play in the opening quarter. Ryan Terefenko then followed when he picked up a ground ball in the defensive end of the field, raced toward the cage and netted his first goal of the season with 7:52 remaining. Leclaire then added his second goal of the game at 5:48, and just 12 seconds later he found Chell to make the score 4-0. Gale Thorpe finished off the rally with the first of his two goals on the day at 3:30 in the first quarter.
Leclaire had his fourth straight four-point game, with two goals and two assists – all in the first half. Thorpe also chipped in with the first two goals of his Ohio State career while freshman JT Bugliosi also scored for the second straight game. Bugliosi’s tally opened the scoring in the third period, as Ohio State went ahead 7-3 before Hofstra’s three-goal run that pulled it within one in the fourth quarter.
Ohio State held a 28-18 edge in ground balls on the afternoon and forced 11 Hofstra turnovers. The starting close defense of Evans, Randall and Matt Borges scooped up 10 and also caused a turnover. Senior goalie Matthew Smidt followed up a career-high 15 save performance last week with 12 stops today – four coming in the second half and two during the fourth-quarter.
In the face-off X, sophomore Christian Feliziani won eight of 16 draws, including the won immediately following Kelly’s goal that gave the Buckeyes a man-up opportunity with under six minutes to play. Senior Freddy Friebott picked up the ground ball on the play to give Ohio State another offensive opportunity.
JUST THE STATS
Shots: Hofstra 33, Ohio State 24
Ground Balls: Ohio State 28, Hofstra 18
Clears: Ohio State 14-14, Hofstra 13-16
Face-offs: Ohio State 9-18, Hofstra 9-18
Saves: Ohio State (Smidt) 12, Hofstra (Concannon) 9
Turnovers: Hofstra 11, Ohio State 8
Ohio State hits the road next weekend and travels south to take on Jacksonville on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. in Jacksonville, Fla. as part of the Mo’s Classic. The game can be seen on tape delay Sunday evening on the CBS Sports Network.