In the first game of the inaugural Snowtown Throwdown in Erie, Pennsylvania, the Ohio State Men's hockey team upended 8-5-2 Mercyhurst, 6-3.
In case you forgot the great state of the 5-9-1 OSU hockey team before the winter break, and you surely would be forgiven if you blocked them out of your mind, they'd just been obliterated by Michigan. 8-3. They hoped to get back into a form they hadn't shown since the season opening Providence series versus weaker competition in Mercyhurst in the inaugural Snowtown Throwdown series.
Mercyhurst hails from the Atlantic Hockey Association, which features such illustrious teams as Robert Morris, which gives out athletic scholarship for gamers, and Holy Cross, known for being Bill Simmons' alma mater and pretty much nothing else in the last 50 years. The league also houses 2014 OSU tie-er Canisius, so maybe I shouldn't talk.
Anyway, the Buckeyes did what they set out to do and scored a bunch, and limited the damage on the back end, to start 2015 on a much better note than they left 2014.
In the first, Tanner Fritz (originally credited to Drew Brevig, who was playing forward) scored to make it 1-0 at 6:55. New assistant captain Matt Johnson added a second goal at 13:34 of the first. Nick Schilkey made it 3-0 OSU at 17:28 of the first to close out the first period scoring.
Matt Johnson scored his second of the game to start off the second period before Mercyhurst put in 2 quick ones to narrow the OSU lead to 4-2.
Matt Weis scored in the 3rd to make it 5-2 before Mercyhurst added a third to narrow the lead again to 2. But Matt Johnson finally put the game out of reach with his third of the game to clinch the hat trick at 16:36 of the third.
Matt Tomkins got the start for the Buckeyes again as he seems to still be the favored goalie in a battle for the less-bad starting option for Ohio State. He allowed 3 goals on 18 shots over the course of the game and kept Mercyhurst in a game they had no business being in, as they were outshot 43-18, even with OSU jumping out to a big first period lead. That should have led to more Mercyhurst shots than normal, so even that wide disparity in shots may be misleading. Anyway, it's not like Christian Frey is inspiring any more confidence than this at this point, so Tomkins it is.
Ohio State dominated a team they were expected to dominate even if it was closer than it should have been. They'll try to sweep the Snowtown Throwdown Saturday at 2:35 PM in Erie.