Once again, after a bad defeat in the opener of a weekend series, the Ohio State Men's Hockey team woke up and came through to earn a split for the weekend.
Ohio State trounced Shillelagh Tournament hosts Notre Dame 5-1 in South Bend last night. The Buckeyes got out to a 2-0 lead and held off Notre Dame after they cut the lead in half.
Junior transfer Blake Doerring scored his first goal as a Buckeye to open the scoring in the first and captain Tanner Fritz scored the second, and ultimately, game winning goal just over five minutes later at 12:24. Steven Fogarty scored for Notre Dame at 19:04 of the first to cut the lead in half, but it was as close as the Irish would get.
Fritz scored his second of the game in the second to extend the lead to 3-1 and Viktor Bjorkung's first collegiate goal extended the lead to 4-1 in the third. Darik Angeli put up another goal in the third to make it 5-1, where the score would ultimately stand.
Christian Frey got the start for OSU in net after Matt Tomkins' poor effort on Friday, and showed what he could do once again. He only allowed one goal on 30 shots, for a .967 save percentage, over a hundred points better than Tomkins' the day before. OSU can only hope that Frey can regain his form from the latter part of last season. Goaltending is notoriously fickle and Frey may have just had a streak of good luck out of coming out of nowhere last season, but a game like this is encouraging. Frey at his best has clearly been better than the best Tomkins has ever showed in Scarlet and Gray, and the Buckeyes look like they need his postseason magic to make another run in this season's Big Ten tournament.
OSU was outshot 30-28 overall for the game, but that's encouraging if nothing else. OSU went up by multiple goals so early that score effects would dictate that Notre Dame would have more control of the game as OSU consciously or subconsciously played more conservatively and defensively. Shots were even in the first when the game was still up for grabs and close, which makes sense, and the Irish outshot the Bucks in the second, 9-6. Ohio State found a way to outshoot Notre Dame in the third, which is either a huge endorsement of OSU's aggressiveness or the Irish's incompetence.
Either way, it was an impressive win to move the Buckeyes to 5-8-1 on the season while Notre Dame falls to 6-8-2. OSU will be playing Michigan next weekend with a televised game on the Big Ten Network at 7pm on Friday to close the first half of the season.
It's been an underwhelming out of conference slate in terms of victories for OSU, especially after it started off so well versus Providence, but they have more than a chance to rebound once conference play gets into full swing.