Ohio State came into the 2015 Florida College Hockey Classic as the only unranked team and the only one that seemed like it didn't have a prayer of taking home the tournament title. But the Buckeyes took home the tournament championship and Ned Harkness Cup on Tuesday night with an 8-0 destruction of No. 9 Cornell
The hosting Big Red came in on a huge high after being the first team to defeat No. 1 Providence all season and looked like heavy favorites to take home the game tonight, despite Ohio State edging out No. 4 Boston College, 3-2, on Monday night. But this game was hardly ever in doubt from the get go for the Ohio State mens hockey team.
The bulldozing started off looking like it would be a tough but close game. Ohio State didn't strike first until 6:27 of the first on a goal by Sasha Larocque. It was the first of his collegiate career. It looked like Cornell would get out of the first only down one, and remain still very much in the game, until Josh Healey put one home at 18:00. His third of the season gave OSU a two goal lead despite Ohio State being outshot Cornell by one in the first frame, 12-11.
In the second, Cornell got their doors blown off. Nick Schilkey started the onslaught with his ninth of the year at 3:56 and David Gust quickly followed with his third of the year at 4:22. At 5:26, Tyler Lundey put home his third of the year and second in as many nights to make it 5-0. Things looked to be settling down after that, before Anthony Greco scored his eighth of the year, shorthanded, at 18:57. The Bucks took a 6-0 lead into the second intermission and outscored the Big Red by four in the frame despite only outshooting Cornell 9-7 in the period.
John Wiitala, hero of Monday's 3-2 win over BC, scored his fourth of the year to make it 7-0. And Matt Weis made it 8-0 with his sixth of the year. Christian Frey preserved his shutout, his first of the season, for just his second credited win of the year.
All in all, Ohio State played by far their best game of the season, though that was pretty obvious. Any time you can take down a top 10 team by eight goals, you're probably playing your best game of the season whether you're Providence, Boston College or Alabama-Huntsville. But when you pair that back to back with a win over the No. 4 team, you start to get pretty optimistic about the Buckeyes.
It was just an out and out destruction and there really isn't much else to say. The Bucks dominated from start to finish and deserved to win this tournament. They're the least talented of the four, but put their nose to the grindstone and combined timely offense with some of Christian Frey's best performances since the 2014 Big Ten conference tournament to take the title.
OSU will look to keep the positive vibes going with a weekend series at Wisconsin on January 8-9. After this tournament, there's no reason to think the Bucks shouldn't be favored.