The Ohio State mens hockey team heaved Niagara over the edge of the falls again on Saturday night with a 6-2 victory in New York. Nick Schilkey scored his 50th career goal and the Buckeyes rolled once again to remain undefeated on the season.
The Buckeyes improve to 5-0-2 on the season and remain the only team in the NCAA without an official loss. They should rise once again in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine official polls this week. Niagara falls to 0-5-2 on the year with their second consecutive loss to the Puckeyes.
Matt Tomkins again got the start in net for Ohio State with Christian Frey on the shelf and played reasonably well, though he didn’t face a tremendous amount of pressure. Niagara didn’t breach the 25 shot barrier for the game, but Tomkins played more than well enough with Ohio State’s continued supreme offensive output.
Freshman Ronnie Hein again found a place on the scoresheet for the Buckeyes, scoring at 13:18 of the first period, with the sole assist coming from fellow freshman Tanner Laczynski. It was Hein’s third on the year. Hein wouldn’t be done on the night either, but we’ll get to that.
Laczynski followed that up just over three minutes later at 16:55 with his third of the year, on the powerplay, from Matts Weis and Joyaux. The Bucks took the 2-0 lead powered by the freshmen into the break, with no serious threat coming from Niagara as OSU allowed just three shots in the frame, recording 11 of their own.
Sean King would break Tomkins’ shutout 9:39 into the second on the powerplay, but Niagara wouldn’t be able to find the tying score. Hein would score his second of the game and fourth on the year, with Tommy Parran recording the sole assist, at 16:36 of the second and that one would prove to be the official game winning goal.
Ohio State took that 3-1 lead into intermission despite the increased threat from Niagara, who put up ten shots in that period to OSU’s 16. In the third, it would be all Buckeyes, however, and captain Nick Schilkey made sure of it.
Number seven scored his 50th career goal just 36 seconds into the third period. Josh Healey had the lone assist as Schilkey put the game on ice with his milestone tally. Matt Weis would score one of his own at 4:00, with assists from Laczynski and Parran, before John Wiitala scored the final Ohio State goal for the second consecutive night, at 4:39 of the third.
Niagara would get a second goal in garbage time, at 15:20 from Stanislav Dzakhov, but make no mistake: this game was a complete Ohio State domination on offense. The football team could learn a thing or two from the hockey team dominating in possession and offense versus an inferior team.
Ohio State outshot Niagara 41-24 and scored twice on the powerplay. They had ten more shot attempts than their opponent despite leading for almost the entire game. Matt Tomkins had a .917 save percentage, a positive effort. Schilkey scored a big goal for both his career and in icing the game. Laczynski had a goal, two assists and seven shots on goal. Parran, Weis and Hein had multipoint games.
There isn’t much more that you can ask for here. Ohio State dominated a team they’re supposed to dominate and will look to do that again when they host Robert Morris next Friday in Columbus, in just OSU’s second home game of the young season. But it’s the team’s best start since 1983 despite the road trips, so things can’t get much better for the Bucks.