Ohio State barely beat a middling team on Saturday, but all that matters is that they found a way to get that “W” in the end. In their never ending quest to be as popular as the football team, the Ohio State mens hockey team tried to imitate their football counterpart with the 3-2 victory over Rensselaer on Saturday night.
It wasn’t nearly as dramatic, with a failed two point conversion and game sealing interception, but hey, a game winner from your best freshman in years isn’t a bad way to end things either. The No. 14/13 Buckeyes improved to 8-1-4 on the year while the Engineers end the series at 2-10-1 for 2016-17.
This was a back and forth affair, with two ties, but Ohio State never trailed for a single second. They scored the opening period’s only goal at 14:48 as Luke Stork scored his fourth of the year, with Matt Miller and Mason Jobst registering the assists. Shots were 14-7 in favor of the Buckeyes, but Rensselaer goalie Chase Perry would have a solid night and keep the Engineers in it till the bitter end.
Withstanding that storm paid dividends just 4:58 into the second, as Jacob Hayhurst scored his first of the year, on the powerplay, to tie the game up at one apiece. THe powerplay came from Sasha Larocque being sent off for holding at 3:19.
Sam McCormick would score his first collegiate goal just under five minutes later, at 9:51, to give OSU the lead right back. Tanner Laczynski and John Wiitala had the assists. The freshman connection of McCormick and Laczynski put the Buckeyes back on top, but that lead would last for less than three minutes.
At 12:44, on a two-man advantage, Riley Bourbonnais scored his sixth of the year to tie it right back up. Nick Schilkey was sent off for the first penalty at 11:37 for tripping, and Larocque was once again sent off, also for tripping, at 12:36. The 5-on-3 only lasted for eight seconds before Bourbonnais converted.
OSU again markedly outshot RPI, 14-6, in the second, but Matt Tomkins allowed two goals on those six shots, both with a man disadvantage, and couldn’t hold Ohio State’s lead because of it.
Luckily, Ohio State would only need one more goal to get the win, and Laczynski was the one who’d get it. At 9:56 of the third period, Tanner scored his fifth of the year during a 4-on-4 situation, with Josh Healey recording the loan assist. Tomkins would do his best to make that stand up.
He stopped all 11 shots fired on him in that third period, raising his total for the night to 22. The Buckeyes still outshot RPI by one, 12-11, in that third showing they didn’t completely take their foot off the gas even after Laczynski’s goal, and showed a fight they didn’t show last night after taking the lead quickly.
This is the kind of game the Buckeyes are going to have to be able to win if they want to survive in conference. They’ll face more talented teams in conference and face them one after another, but you have to be able to get points in tough games, and Ohio State showed they could do that tonight.
It’d probably just be nicer for our blood pressures if they put these teams away more easily.
Ohio State will have Thanksgiving weekend off to do some Black Friday shopping but will open their conference schedule the following weekend, on December 2nd, with a road game at Minnesota. That’s one way to break into Big Ten play.