This may seem farfetched but get a load of this: an Ohio State sports team playing a team from Pennsylvania and not waking up and beating a team they were favored to beat until the last few minutes of a game. That’s right: Ohio State hockey went into the final three minutes against Robert Morris tied before scoring twice to ice it late.
Wait...the football team did what now?
There wasn’t a goal scored in either the first or second period as Ohio State failed to capitalize on the talent and shot advantage they clobbered the Colonials with on Friday in Columbus. Things finally came together in the third, however, as Ohio State scored twice with under three minutes to play and finished off the sweep.
The Buckeyes came out slow, only outshooting RMU 7-6 in the first, but Sean Romeo stopped all six shots against and the game went into the first intermission tied at nothing apiece. Robert Morris was aided by penalties taken by Matt Miller and Sam McCormick, but failed to capitalize on either chance. OSU had the first powerplay of the game, gained from a high stick, but didn’t score either, obviously.
The second period was where the Buckeyes began to dominate as we’d expected. Shots were 15 to just three for the Colonials, but still nothing went up in the goal column for either team. Ohio State had three different powerplays in the second but converted none of them. Dakota Joshua and Matthew Weis each took interference calls for the Buckeyes within five minutes of each other in the second, but RMU couldn’t capitalize either.
Then, in the third, the (relative) dam broke.
Just 1:34 into the third period, Miller scored his second of the year, from the point, with assists to Weis and freshman defenseman Michael Rounds.
Sam McCormick, however, decided to take another penalty at 7:41, this time for high sticking, and RMU converted just ten seconds into the man advantage. Alex Tonge scored his second of the year on a goal mouth scramble and OSU’s breakthrough was nullified.
The score would remain knotted at one through 17 minutes into the third period. Ohio State wasn’t helped by any penalties against Robert Morris, yet still would dominate on shots on net, 18-5, despite leading for nearly a third of the period. Sean Romeo wouldn’t allow any more past him and stopped 13/14 shots on the night for a .929 save percentage. If he had that percentage every game (and he probably won’t as OSU steps it up in competition once conference play starts), the Buckeyes would probably be going back to the NCAA tournament.
So Ohio State kept peppering Andrew Pikul to the tune of 40 shots total for the game, but just couldn’t get a second past him going on two and a half minutes left in regulation. This would’ve been reminiscent of the tie with RPI when Ohio State more than doubled their shot total, 56-23. Forty-to-fourteen is a higher percentage of shots on net for Ohio State than even that game, and this looked like it’d be a tough one.
It would’ve been especially tough had a second goal for RMU not been overturned on review, but it wasn’t—so at least the refs were helping one Ohio State team today, am I right fellas? (Tip your waitstaff, I’ll be here all week.)
Then Tanner Laczynski decided he really really really wanted to win this game and scored two goals within the final 2:31. Suddenly a close game and potential loss was a victory. Fancy that.
Janik Moser fed Tanner on the first one for Laczynski’s second of the year, with the secondary assist going to Wyatt Ege, while his third of the year was an empty netter with just eight seconds left on the clock. Mason Jobst had the lone assist.
So Ohio State swept the Colonials and extended their unbeaten streak to six (no, two ties against Rensselaer aren’t impressive but hey I’m in a good mood today) and have momentum going into their home conference opener against new Big Ten hockey member No. 8 Notre Dame next weekend in Columbus.