On Senior Night at Value City Arena, the struggling Buckeyes found a way to win one for the outgoing graduates. The Ohio State mens hockey team beat the Big Ten's last place Wisconsin Badgers by a score of 6-5 with Luke Stork providing the game winning goal in the third.
Christian Frey once again got the start for the Bucks in net despite the .889 save percentage he put up last night after a fairly underwhelming February overall. He didn't put up a great game on Saturday night either, it turned out, allowing five goals, but the win is really all that matters. It may be time to give him a rest though since he hasn't had a kind month.
Kevin Schulze started off the game's scoring with his second of the season at 13:02 of the first. It was ruled no-goal on the ice but overturned upon review. Ohio State would tie it back up just a few minutes later as David Gust sent a pass to Drew Brevig who found a way to get it to the back of the net on the powerplay. Then things would start going horribly wrong for the Buckeyes.
Freshman Miguel Fidler was sent off for roughing, and the Badgers capitalized with a poweplay goal from Luke Kunin, his 15th total goal on the season. Then, just like on Friday, the Badgers scored a goal at the tail end of the period and put themselves up 3-1 on a goal by Jake Linhart at 19:51. That's not exactly an encouraging way to go into the dressing room.
The Bucks wouldn't let that momentum stand up into the second, though, as they fired back to tie the game. Freddy Gerard scored off a feed from Matt Weis to narrow the lead to one just over two minutes into the third but Wisconsin answered with a goal by Will Johnson to double the lead back to two. That's when the OSU fireworks started.
Miguel Fidler made it a one goal game to atone for his roughing call with just under 12 minutes left in the first, at 8:07, and Nick Schilkey redirected a Josh Healey shot to tie the game at four with just over two minutes left in the first. It was Schilkey's 17th of the season and third in this weekend's series.
The game would head into the second intermission knotted at four, and it looked like it'd be a fantastic finish just as on Friday. Luke Stork would give Ohio State its first lead of the game with just under 17 minutes remaining in the third and things looked to be firmly in Ohio State's favor. Except the Badgers weren't going to go down like that.
Cameron Hughes scored his fifth of the season at 14:03 to tie the game at five-all. It sure looked like this one was going to overtime and potentially another shootout. But John Wiitala said no. He deposited a loose puck past Matt Jurusik at 17:11 of the third and Ohio State would hold that lead and ride into Columbus' Saturday night sunset with the Senior Night Victory.
Ohio State's offense continued its hot streak, but unfortunately, if Frey is going to play like this and give up five goals to last place Big Ten teams, there doesn't seem to be much hope for Ohio State finding a way to upset teams like Michigan in the conference tournament next month. He's got to get on his game since Ohio State just doesn't have the offensive firepower to compete with the likes of the top of the conference in terms of high end talent. At least Frey came up big in the final minute to keep UW out and down one.
You take the victory but have to know the goaltending lately has been troublesome. Either way, the Buckeyes will play a home and home series with Michigan next weekend, with Friday night's game in Ann Arbor at 7:35 p.m.