Ohio State really is starting to look like the top-10 team the USCHO.com poll declared they were. They defeated a Niagara team they are supposed to defeat and did it with their backup goalie in.
The No. 9 Ohio State hockey team took down Niagara for the second straight night, winning 4-1 in front of backup goalie Tommy Nappier. Niagara kept it close for at least one period, but OSU went up two in the second and iced it with another in the third.
Matt Miller got it started just one minute into the first, with assists from Mason Jobst and Michael Rounds, and Matthew Weis doubled the lead almost exactly six minutes later at the 7:02 mark. Ronnie Hein and Tanner Laczynski had the assists on Weis’ goal. Rounds and Hein combined to play nine games before this weekend but were putting up points on Niagara. Depth, baby.
Nick Farmer got Niagara on the board with 34 seconds left in the first but that’d be all they’d get. OSU outshot Niagara 16-12 in the first despite being up for 19 minutes of the period anyway and poured it on some more in the second.
They outshot the visitors 16-4 in the second and added another goal from Weis at 14:01 of the second. Hein and Jobst added the assists, each gaining their second helpers of the night.
The third would be more Niagara heavy, as they made their final push down two goals, and outshot the Buckeyes 12-7, but they wouldn’t be able to add another and halve the OSU lead. John Wiitala scored the only goal of the period, for OSU, at 2:15, with Hein registering his third assist of the game. He had one assist this season coming into this series.
That’d be it for the scoring in this relatively uneventful, domination by the Buckeyes. Nappier stopped all twelve shots in the third and ended up stopping 27/28 shots for a sterling .964 save percentage.
But you still have to play the games; it doesn’t show up as a dominant win just because it should. Ohio State did play the games and looked just as good as they should’ve this weekend. They swept a team they should sweep and improved their record to 12-4-4.
That’s all you can ask for, and to do it in front of your backup freshman goalie in the second and more dominant win? Hardly anything more you could ask for.
There’s not much else to say in this one. Ohio State outplayed a team they were supposed to outplay and put this one away relatively early. They didn’t sit back quite like the football team did against USC after going up 17-0, but it was nearly as uneventful after OSU scored the third goal.
The Buckeyes move back to the conference schedule next year (i.e. next week) as they travel to East Lansing for their first games of the 2018 calendar year.
MSU sits at just 2-7-1-1 in conference heading into next weekend while the Bucks sit second in the conference (and five back in the win column of first place Notre Dame). OSU will look to win the series next weekend and keep their current number two seed in conference.
There’s nothing but conference games from hereon out. Go Bucks.