Halloween is supposed to be the day you see the bizarre happen right in front of your eyes. There are strange costumes and people somehow enjoying candy corn. Anything can happen. Ohio State can even win a hockey game.
That's right, it finally happened: the Ohio State men's hockey team won its first game of the season with a resounding 5-1 defeat of Mercyhurst Saturday afternoon at Value City Arena. The stats and peripheralsl looked pretty much the same as last night, where OSU took Mercyhurst to the woodshed in every aspect but number of goals scored. Today, they added that to the list of pros for the Buckeyes and had this one over well before the game was close to finished.
Matt Tomkins got the start in net for Ohio State after Christian Frey allowed 2 goals on 16 shots for a sub-.900 save percentage game. Tomkins, aside from the drubbing at Providence last Saturday, has outplayed Frey this season and played well enough today as well. You could've tied Tomkins up like Milhouse in net today and it probably would've been enough though.
Nick Schilkey, who's probably been the team's all around best player this season, started off the scoring in this one with a powerplay goal toward the end of the first. The Bucks led again going into intermission, just as they did on Friday night, and outshot the Lakers 17-4 in the first period. It looked like the exact same setup as the night before, and if you've been watching this team this year, probably another disappointment.
Except just seconds into the second period, Luke Stork extended the Buckeye lead to 2-0 with the assist credited to Josh Healey. John Wiitala made it 3-0 with his second career collegiate goal just a few minutes later. And Schilkey scored his second of the game and third in this series to make it 4-0. There were still over six minutes left in the second period by the time Schilkey made it a 4-0 game. The Bucks took that lead into the intermission and led in shots 20-11 in the second period. It seemed like a pretty safe bet that Mercyhurst wasn't going to steal this one.
Matt Weis scored another in the third to make it a 5-0 game. He struck on the powerplay with assists credited to Anthony Greco and Schilkey. Mercyhurst would rob Tomkins of a shutout with a goal with just over 11 minutes left in the final frame, but a garbage time goal isn't exactly a big worry. Though if any team could surrender that lead in that amount of time, it'd be your 2015-16 Buckeyes.
But the Buckeyes locked down after that and held onto the 5-1 lead for their first win of the season. Cats and dogs are getting along. Pigs are flying. Cardale Jones is somehow the starter again. Today is insane.
OSU will look to keep the insanity going next weekend when they face underdog Canisius in Columbus.