For the second straight week, the Ohio State mens hockey team defeated an in-state rival that swept them last season. Last week, it was Miami. This week it was Bowling Green.
Ohio State, against all odds, improved to 2-0-2 on the year while Bowling Green fell to 0-4-1. OSU lost games to BGSU by scores of 6-3 and 2-0 last season, for reference. Either the Puckeyes are maturing or Bowling Green has fallen off the cliff. Probably a little bit of both.
Either way, in front of a shaky effort from Matt Tomkins, OSU pulled out the tough victory. Shot attempts were 38-38 for the game, with Bowling Green blocking 15 Buckeye attempts, giving them the shots on goal advantage of 30-22, which was inevitably helped by score effects as they had to come back from Ohio State going up 3-1 in the second period.
Ohio State started out really well in this one, at least on the only scoresheet that matters. Ronnie Hein scored his second collegiate goal just 1:10 into the first period as the freshman put one in off assists from Matt Joyaux and Mason Jobst. Matt Pohlkamp tied it up for BGSU on the powerplay just over four minutes later, but OSU went back up on top with Kevin Millar’s first of the year, from Brendan Kearney and Dakota Joshua.
Bowling Green outshot OSU 13-5 in the first, but the Buckeyes were up. That lead would fall by the wayside in the second period, however, that was all Bowling Green. It started out well, however, with Jobst scoring his first of the year, on the powerplay, at 4:02 of the second. Tanner Laczynski and Josh Healey had the helpers.
Then things went sideways.
Just over a minute later, Pohlkamp struck again to get BGSU within one, again on the powerplay. Sean Walker scored Bowling Green’s third powerplay goal at 14:07 of the second and Frederic Letourneau added BGSU’s first even-strength goal of the game at 16:10.
All of a sudden, the Buckeyes were down going into the third period. So Nick Schilkey decided to do captain things and get the Bucks back in the game. He scored just 34 seconds into the third period, to stem the tide after Bowling Green outscored OSU 3-1 in the second and outshot Ohio State 11-7 as well. Matts Joyaux and Weis assisted on Schilkey’s tying score.
And then super freshman Laczynski, one of the stars of the U.S. junior camp before the season, continued making his case to get on the U20 team this winter by scoring the game winning, powerplay goal at 9:38 of the third, with assists coming from Jobst and Joshua.
Matt Tomkins held down the fort despite multiple powerplays for BGSU in those last ten plus minutes and the Falcons’ goalie being pulled with just under two minutes to play. Tomkins only had to make one stop in those last two minutes, so kudos to the Buckeyes for helping him out majorly after he allowed four goals on 31 shots prior. He finished the game with an .875 save percentage, which rose greatly when he shut the door in the third.
This game looks better once you dig into the stats. BGSU is a team Ohio State should beat if they want to stay ranked. Shot attempts were 41-39 BGSU, but that only tells part of the story as Ohio State went up 3-1 relatively early in the hockey game, allowing score effects to take over and Bowling Green to have more of an advantage in generating shots as OSU tried (and failed) to protect the lead.
The Buckeyes never really had a chance to generate big scoring effects of their own as Schilkey tied the game within five minutes game time of Bowling Green taking their first and only lead.
It wasn’t the best effort, but you have to win games like this over rivals and OSU found a way Friday night on the road. The two teams will conclude their home and home series on Saturday at 7pm in Columbus, where the Bucks will look to return the sweeping favor they received last fall.