Well, you couldn't have reasonably expected more from the Ohio State Men's Hockey team. They defeated Providence on Friday night in overtime but fell in overtime to the same Friars team on Saturday night by a score of 2-1.
In a more defensively contested affair in Columbus, the game remained scoreless until the third period. There were numerous penalties and powerplays prior to any scoring, including a game misconduct for contact with the head for Josh Healey at the 20 minute mark of the second period, but there was a dearth of great chances out there.
The flow of play went back and forth, back and forth. Providence controlled much of the first period but the Buckeyes controlled portions of their own. The Buckeyes got closer in the second and narrowed the initially lopsided shot totals. Matt Tomkins for OSU and Jon Gillies for Providence went toe to toe and matched each other save for save. The chances were few, but those presented were stopped.
But in the third, the Friars struck first on a goal by Logan Day. But 42 seconds later, Luke Stork netted his first collegiate goal for OSU to tie it up. The game would remain tied through regulation and up until the final minute of overtime, when Brian Pinho ended the sudden death frame at 4:15.
Ohio State was outshot 29-27 in the game, but overcame an initial barrage by Providence and was in control of the game from the point of the Day goal until the game winner. Once the Buckeyes figured out how to get the puck into the zone on Providence, by carrying it in instead of dumping and chasing, they took control and probably outplayed a top 5 team.
You really couldn't have reasonably expected a better showing from OSU this weekend. They weren't the favorites to take the points from Providence and the fact that they even split, even with home ice advantage, is a solid starting point for Ohio State.
Christian Frey wasn't particularly good in the more offensive opener, but Matt Tomkins stepped up and delivered when OSU needed him. Freshmen Luke Stork and Matt Weis particularly stepped up on offense. Anthony Greco netted a hat trick. Christian Lampasso got a spot in the starting lineup.
The weaker spots seemed to come from the more proven commodities. Frey wasn't perfect and Drew Brevig looked shaky at best tonight. The Fritz-Greco connection couldn't get anything going. But if OSU can combine the promising output from the freshmen and unsung players with the past performances of Frey and Fritz among others, it should be a solid season for OSU.
And splitting points with a top 5 team ain't too bad.