After a disappointing home opening series against Rensselaer two weeks ago in Columbus, the Buckeyes’ offense seems to finally have woken up as they scored four of the game’s last five goals to knock off underdog Robert Morris, 5-3, at Value City Arena.
They Buckeyes improve to 4-1-2 on the year, with their only loss coming at No. 5 Wisconsin, while Robert Morris falls to 2-4. This was only the second time new goalie Sean Romeo has allowed more than two goals, with the other being the loss at UW. (But when your offense puts up five, it’s the right time to have a clunker in net.)
This one didn’t start out particularly well for Romeo or the OSU offense, however. Robert Morris scored two goals within 1:04 in the first, with tallies by Luke Lynch and Timmy Moore at 10:41 and 11:45, respectively. With the way Ohio State’s offense played against a poorer RPI team, one certainly had a right to be skeptical with how the Puckeyes would respond.
The unexpected response turned out to be quick though as Tanner Laczynski finally scored his first of the year, with assists from Matthew Weis and Dakota Joshua just 18 seconds after Moore put Robert Morris up 2-0. That’s three goals in 1:22 for those counting at home.
College hockey: defense optional!
Shots were 10-9 in the first for the Buckeyes, which they should’ve been as the team was trailing for nearly half the period. More importantly, it would turn out, the Buckeyes went into the second with 1:44 of carryover powerplay time resulting from Spencer Dorowicz’s penalty for cross checking at 19:44 of the first.
John Wiitala made the Colonials pay for that one with his third of the year at 1:30 of the second. Joshua and Mason Jobst had the assists on the score.
One minute and one second later, Ohio State got another first to go along with Laczynski’s first of the year they received in the first. Eugene Fadyeyev, the freshman from the Ukraine, scored his first collegiate goal at 2:31 of the second after Matthew Weis found him with a behind the back pass to give OSU the 3-2 lead.
RMU wasn’t ready to say die after the Buckeye onslaught, though. After Wyatt Ege was sent off for interference at 9:16 of the second, giving Robert Morris life after Ohio State had a stranglehold on momentum from the three unanswered goals, Robert Morris answered. Daniel Mantenuto scored his first of the year on the man advantage and suddenly it was a tie game once again.
That’d be all Romeo would let in. Robert Morris would total 18 shots between the second and third and only that powerplay score got behind Romeo. He stopped 17 out of 18 in the last two periods and all seven in the third alone.
Romeo’s stand in net would keep it tied until Weis broke the tie at 19:00 of the second to give OSU the lead back at 4-3. Sasha Larocque carried the puck in, found Laczynski behind the net and he hit Weis in front to set him up for his second of the year and what turned out to be the game winning goal.
Romeo wouldn’t let RMU tie it in the third and was aided by two separate Colonial minor penalties to give Ohio State some time to breathe until Austin Pooley scored his first collegiate goal to ice this one (no pun intended). He backhanded it in off a feed from who else, Laczynski, and put this one away.
Larocque would be sent off for holding in the third at 14:43, giving RMU more life, but they couldn’t capitalize as the Buckeyes killed off three out of four powerplay opportunities the Colonials were given. That one RMU converted was only the second powerplay goal the Buckeyes have allowed all year.
Romeo wasn’t great in this one overall, only stopping 24/27 shots, but he recovered and stoned the Colonials in the second and third to give the Buckeyes the chance to finish this one off. Ohio State finished with 45 shots on goal, in a effort similar to the first game against RPI two weekends ago. OSU wasn’t rewarded in that one, but the effort paid off here and the Buckeyes defeated an inferior team.
The two teams will square off once again, on Saturday night as the weekend series shifts to Pittsburgh. Hopefully this will be just the second win of the day on Saturday for an Ohio State team versus one from Pennsylvania.