When you think of engineers and sports, you don’t get much farther than Paul Johnson and competitive League of Legends. But they apparently also play hockey and got boat raced by the Buckeyes last night at Rensselear, 4-0.
Matt Tomkins made his claim for the starting job in net for the Buckeyes, as he recorded his first shutout of the season and third of his career to help Ohio State improve to 7-1-4 on the year overall. Rensselear fell to 2-9-1 for 2016-17.
The Buckeyes put together a solid effort in the first period, outshooting the Engineers 13-8, but not really dominating as you’d think they should over an inferior opponent. OSU is ranked No. 14 and 13 in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls respectively, after all.
Dakota Joshua finally asserted his team’s dominance at 18:58 of the first, however, for his second of the year. He hasn’t broke out like many of us expected, at least on the goal side, but any progress is good progress, and a game winning goal certainly helps. Miguel Fidler and Drew Brevig recorded the assists.
That’d be all Ohio State would need as Tomkins would shut the door for the rest of the game. Rensselaer upped their shot total to ten each in both the second and third, but still couldn’t find a way in.
Nick Schilkey made the task even harder for the Engineers as he doubled the lead at 7:15 of the second with a powerplay goal from Matthew Weis and David Gust. It was his 11th on the year. A two goal lead apparently wasn’t good enough for the captain, though, as he’d score almost exactly twenty minutes later, at 7:57 of the third. His twelfth of the year was assisted by Mason Jobst and Tanner Laczynski.
Laczynski would add an empty net goal, his fourth of the year, unassisted, at 19:44 of the third.
Ohio State, somewhat worryingly, went into a shell after the first period lead and only generated 15 total shots in the rest of the game. Tomkins was clearly on his game so it wasn’t a huge worry for this one, but going into the future, when you play the Minnesotas and Penn States of the world you cannot do that.
Rensselaer doesn’t have the talent to make you pay when you sit back and fall into a shell, but if you’re using these games for training for the Big Ten schedule, as you probably should be as that’s the most important part of your year by far, this was a distressing sign.
If you do this against a team like Minnesota, you’ll be back tied before you know it barring Dominik Hasek finding his way in net. Tomkins has been better but, goaltender, you’re no Dom Hasek.
Either way, Ohio State did what they needed to do against Rensselaer and it’s very hard to complain about that. When you play an inferior team, you’re supposed to win by multiple goals and Ohio State did that. They should have done that against Robert Morris and likely UConn and weren’t able to for the entire weekend series, but were able to on the first leg of this one.
We’ll see if they’ll be able to get both wins over that inferior opponent as the two teams face off once again on Saturday night at 7pm in Troy, New York.