After a disappointing overall slate of non-conference play, Ohio State hoped to open its Big Ten hockey schedule on a high note. That did not exactly happen.
Hosting the Michigan State Spartans in Value City Arena on Thursday, the Buckeyes lost 3-1. Michigan State scored one in the first, one in the second and one in the third, while the Buckeyes scored their lone tally with the extra attacker late in the game.
Michigan State scored first on a goal by Villiam Haag and led in shots in the first, 8-6. OSU outshot MSU in the second, 13-8 (yay score effects maybe finally taking effect on OSU), but Sparty scored on a goal by Matt Berry. In the third, Brent Darnell scored for Michigan State to go up 3-0. OSU scored with the extra attacker on a goal by Tyler Lundley with under three minutes left, but by then it was way too late, and the 3-1 score would hold. Score effects really took hold in the final frame, with OSU outshooting MSU 16-4. Shots overall were 35-20 in favor of OSU.
Michigan State improved to 4-6 overall on the season and 1-0 in Big Ten play, while the Buckeyes fell to 3-7-1 and 0-1 in conference play. This ended the Buckeyes seven game unbeaten streak versus the Spartans, where OSU was 4-0-3 during the streak.
Matt Tomkins got the start for OSU and the battle of goaltender mediocrity between the pipes for OSU continues as allowing 3 goals on 20 shots (.850 SV%!) is not exactly good. The way Christian Frey's played since his 60 save performance early in the year probably wouldn't inspire much more confidence, but he probably couldn't do much worse than Tomkins did last night, at least SV% wise.
Powerplay mediocrity continues for OSU as well, with them going their third straight game without a goal on the man advantage. Michigan State scored on one of their two man advantages.
There's a lot of mediocrity going on at OSU now, and it's not just due to Max McCormick and Ryan Dzingel being gone as we all feared. Goaltending has been bad and the team has stopped scoring. It's not looking good right now for OSU hockey. They'll host MSU Friday at Value City Arena to try to get back on the right track, or at least in the ballpark of it.