On one hand, not losing a game over a weekend on the road against a Hockey East team is a pretty good few days. On the other, UConn is a team you should score more than one goal against and outshoot. Either way, No. 17 Ohio State hockey tied UConn on Saturday afternoon and now find themselves at 6-3-3 heading into the meat of their conference schedule following a bye week next weekend.
There was no scoring in this one through the first two periods, as Ohio State couldn’t find a way to get one past the Husky goalie — appropriately named Adam Huska. (I guess you can’t really commit to another school if your name is Huska.) Anyway, he stopped 24 of 25 shots on Saturday afternoon in Hartford and was declared the second star of the game.
OSU started Sean Romeo in net after Tommy Nappier got the start on Friday, and Romeo stopped 29 of 30 shots to hold UConn to just one goal; though it came with Ohio State nursing a one goal lead with just minutes to go. Not ideal timing. He was the third star of the game.
The first star of the game? Jesse Schwartz, who was the Husky who tied it up at one apiece at 16:41 of the third period and took away what looked like a sweep for the Buckeyes. Tanner Laczynski had OSU’s lone score, at 9:23 of the third, with Janik Moser credited with the lone assist.
The Buckeyes didn’t shrink like they did after the first on Friday, though they didn’t have a multiple goal lead allowing them to shrink like they did on Friday either. OSU outshot UConn 6-5 in the first and 12-11 in the second and was outshot 8-5 in the third, though they led for half the period so it was defensible. Yay score effects.
The problem with those numbers is that UConn is a mediocre team at best that a ranked team should be able to outshoot by more than one a period when the game is tied. Ohio State’s never been a possession driven team but it’d sure help if they learned to be that when playing teams like UConn.
You worry and expect that the results will start to more consistently match being outshot by mediocre teams. But it hasn’t happened yet. So right now, I look like the boy who cried wolf, especially after last year. But Nick Schilkey and David Gust aren’t here to bail you out anymore. You worry this could turn into a team similar to the 2014-15 or 2015-16 teams real quick once they start facing more competitive foes in conference. The offensive firepower from last year just doesn’t seem to be there and it’s making it harder to overcome the lack of possession and shots.
But at least Sean Romeo keeps on playing better than you could’ve expected. He came into the game with a .918 save percentage and a goals against of 1.95 and those numbers are both improving following a 29 of 30 saves and one goal allowed performance.
He stopped all six UConn shots in overtime to preserve the tie and send OSU home with a series win. If Romeo keeps playing like this, a dip in shooting percentage is survivable and the team may even thrive. You hope it doesn’t come to that, but boy is he looking like a find in net.
Let’s see what happens when the Buckeyes face Michigan, Penn State and Minnesota before the end of the year, but Romeo sure looks for real as of now — and the offense sure doesn’t. But the Bucks have only played four conference games, so the season is far, far, far from lost. You worry, but until the bad results actually happen, worrying is all you can do.
The Puckeyes have a bye week next weekend then go to Ann Arbor on November 24-25 to face the Wolverines. The Buckeyes not losing in Ann Arbor, in any sport, on the 25th would sure be nice.