It was a tough Saturday night in Columbus, as the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes were doubled up on the scoresheet by the now 4-13-1-1 Michigan State Spartans.
This one was ugly pretty much from the get go as Michigan State scored three times in the first 19 and a half minutes. Ohio State got one back at 19:47 of the first, as Dakota Joshua found a puck in front of the Michigan State net on the power play and got the Buckeyes to within two goals.
A little momentum with 13 seconds left in the first sounds like a good thing right? How much worse could the second get? OSU outshot the Spartans 9-7 in the first and looked like they had settled the game down a bit with that late marker.
Well, it turns out it could get a lot worse and momentum is a fake construct made with available faulty heuristics. Michigan State outshot OSU 15-12 in the second and scored once at 11:20 to make it 4-1, and then again at 14:20 to make it 5-1. Not a banner night in net for Sean Romeo, who only stopped 12 shots on the night.
Ohio State did get one back at 14:58, with Matthew Weis scoring on a rush on the power play off the backhand. Ronnie Hein and Mason Jobst had the assists. Maaaaaybe this one would give Ohio State the momentum to start down the comeback trail. But alas, it did not.
They would score one to make it 5-3 early in the third as Hein sniped one in from the slot, again on the power play, at 6:02 of the third. Jobst and Weis had the assists. All three OSU goals came on the powerplay.
Michigan State would add another with 1:27 left in regulation to go up 6-3 and that’s where the score would mercifully lie. MSU, again a 10-17-1 overall team and 4-13-1-1 in conference, scored six goals at even strength against a top five team. Ohio State could only score with a Spartan in the box.
If Ohio State is going to have to rely on the powerplay to this degree in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, exits will probably come fairly early. The last place team in the Big Ten should not score six even strength goals against you. What’s No. 2 Notre Dame going to do next week when OSU visits South Bend, Ind.?
Hopefully you can chalk this one up to Romeo having a rare off game and the team looking ahead to its biggest games of the season so far next weekend at Notre Dame. The team is still up six points on Wisconsin for the the second place position in the Big Ten standings, so all is far from lost. And it is just one game. But boy, with series with Notre Dame, Minnesota and Wisconsin coming up before the Big Ten tournament, you want to bank as many points as you can.