I think we may have to slow our rolls on the idea of Ohio State hockey challenging Minnesota for the Big Ten title this season. Conference champions don’t get run out of the building by a team that split its last series with Army.
In just their second home game of the year, the Ohio State mens hockey team fell 6-2 to Robert Morris, with goalie Matt Tomkins getting chased just 2:03 into the third period. He’d been playing well lately and had registered a .928 save percentage this year coming into the game, well, well above his career high. I think Christian Frey’s job is safe once he’s healthy.
Things didn’t start too badly for OSU, though. In the first, both teams would score once as Matthew Weis, last week’s Big Ten hockey first star of the week, scored just 3:14 into the game, with assists coming from Gordi Myer and Tanner Laczynski. Robert Morris struck back at 15:35 with Alex Tonge evening it up. OSU still outshot the Colonials 15-11 in the first despite leading for more than half the period, so it looked like Ohio State would control this one.
They would not.
The second period was all Robert Morris. They’d score three times on Tomkins only just eleven shots and go up 4-1. John Rey scored at 2:18, followed by Tonge’s second of the game at 11:07 and Spencer Dorowicz scoring at 13:39. Ohio State only had nine shots in the period despite falling behind so quickly. The Colonials completely controlled the play even with the lead and completely took this one away from the Buckeyes.
The third period wouldn’t be much better. Tomkins allowed a goal to Brady Ferguson at just 2:03 and was yanked for Logan Davis, who had played just 5:05 on the year coming into this game. David Gust scored his fourth of the year just 33 seconds after Ferguson made it 5-1 in favor of Robert Morris but that was all Ohio State would be able to get.
Robert Morris added a sixth goal to make it 6-2 at 16:37 by Eric Israel into the empty net to add insult to injury.
Ohio State could barely even outshoot Robert Morris in the third despite being majorly down on the scoreboard until the game was all but decided. That’s the Ohio State hockey team from last year we all know and love and the one that’s been lurking below the surface despite the 5-0-2 start this year.
The fact of the matter is the team ranks just fourth in the Big Ten in Corsi For percentage in close situations and at even strength even with the quick start. They’re not a good puck possession team relative to their peers and that came home to roost against Robert Morris. This is a team, talent wise, they should have dominated but they never even really hinted at that.
Usually being behind is a solid way to generate more shots than your opponent as they go into a defensive shell, even subconsciously. But that didn’t happen. Ohio State didn’t get goaltending and couldn’t generate enough shots and scoring chances to counteract that against an inferior opponent.
They can’t have much worse of a game on Saturday when they go to Pittsburgh to play at Robert Morris in Pittsburgh at 7:05pm.