EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The No. 8-ranked Ohio State men's hockey team scored three goals in the third period to break a two-all tie and skate to a 5-3 win over Michigan State Saturday in Munn Ice Arena. The win was the Buckeyes' sixth in a row, as the team improves to 14-4-4 on the year and 7-4-1-0 in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes will have a second consecutive road series, traveling to face No. 14 Penn State. The teams will meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday in State College, with BTN televising game two.
— Ohio State M Hockey (@OhioState_MHKY) January 7, 2018
Ohio State 5, Michigan State 3 -- The Short Story
Michigan State opened the scoring at 7:14 of the first, but Ohio State scored twice in 17 seconds, with Matthew Weis and Dakota Joshua tallying, to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. The Spartans scored the only goal of the second for a tie game after 40 minutes. The Buckeyes killed a penalty to start the third and then scored three goals -- by John Wiitala, Joshua and Freddy Gerard -- to go ahead 5-2 at 12:52. The Spartans made it a two-goal game at 13:28, but could get no closer. The Buckeyes outshot the Spartans, 31-23. Ohio State was 1-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill. Tanner Laczynski and Matt Joyaux each had two assists in the game.
Quoting Coach Steve Rohlik
"I liked the energy out of our team tonight. For the most part I thought we were more consistent than last night. At the end of the day, you need to win those tight games. We knew Michigan State was going to bring it tonight -- they have a good team. In college hockey if you're not ready to play your best you're not going to win. We were resilient tonight -- we took some bad penalties, and put ourselves in a hole, but I liked the resiliency and attitude our guys had."
Quoting junior forward Dakota Joshua
"This was a big character weekend for the guys. We let off the gas Friday night after getting up by a few goals, so it was nice for us to come back and find a way to win a closer game. A lot of people played well this weekend and really showed how deep our team is. Now it's time to get ready to go to Happy Valley for another tough test."
Quoting redshirt junior goalie Sean Romeo
"It was a huge sweep on the road for us. Our team really stuck together this weekend and did all of the little things that made a difference in the end. It's a big two wins and we are looking forward to starting to prepare for next weekend."
In the First Period
The Spartans opened the scoring at 7:14 when Mitchell Lewandowski tallied. It was the first time in six games the Buckeyes allowed the first goal. Ohio State is outscoring opponents 17-9 in the first period this year.
Ohio State answered with two goals in a 17 second span for a 2-1 lead. At 13:59 Matthew Weis backhanded in the rebound of a Tanner Laczynski shot with the Buckeyes on the power play. Wyatt Ege also assisted on the goal, which came on the Buckeyes' first power play chance. The next goal came at 14:16. Dakota Joshua won the faceoff back to Matt Joyaux and he went to the slot, redirecting a shot by Joyaux to put the Buckeyes ahead. Brendon Kearney also assisted on the goal.
Shots were 12-5 in favor of the Buckeyes in the period.
In the Second Period
The Spartans scored the only goal of the second period. With three seconds left on a power play, Sam Saliba converted on a one-timer to tie the game at two. Michigan State had nine shots in the period, with the Buckeyes putting six on net.
In the Third Period
The third period started with the Buckeyes killing a penalty assessed at the end of the second. At 4:10 John Wiitala one-timed a pass from Matt Joyaux to put the Buckeyes ahead 3-2. Sasha Larocque also assisted on the goal, Wiitala's sixth of the year. Ohio State added two goals in less than two minutes to push the lead to 5-2. At 11:00 Dakota Joshua won the faceoff ahead, got to the puck and scored from a sharp angle. Freddy Gerard then scored at 12:52, assisted by Matthew Weis and Tanner Laczynski.
MSU scored less than a minute later to make it a two-goal game at 13:28, but could get no closer. Shots were 13-9 in favor of the Buckeyes in the period. Each team was 0-for-2 on the power play in the stanza.
Blocking the Puck
Ohio State outshot Michigan State, 31-23. Sean Romeo had 20 stops in 59:57 for his 12th win of the season. He is in the Top 10 nationally with a 1.94 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. MSU goalie Ed Minney had 26 stops in all 60 minutes.
The Buckeyes are allowing 2.05 goals per game this year, ranking in the Top 5 in the NCAA in team defense.
The Buckeyes were 1-for-4 on the power play in the game, their third straight game with a power play goal. The squad is 16-for-89 (.160) this year.
The Buckeye penalty kill was 4-for-5, giving up just the seventh power play goal of the year. The team is 79-for-86 (.919) this year, ranking first nationally on the PK.
Noting the Buckeyes
The Buckeyes improve to 9-1-1 on the road this season. Tanner Laczynski leads the Buckeyes with 10 goals and 29 points, one point behind the NCAA point leaders. He is on a six-game point streak with four goals, five assists and nine points in the stretch. He has a point in 12 of the last 13 games (7g, 13a, 20p). Ohio State has scored twice in the first period for four games in a row. Matthew Weis had his third-straight two-point night and seventh multiple-point game this season. He has an 8-15-23 line on the year, ranking second on the team in points. Joshua had the second two-goal game of his career and first since Feb. 11, 2017 vs. Minnesota. Joyaux's two assists matched his Buckeye best first set Oct. 21, 2016 at Bowling Green. It was his second career two-point night.
Buckeye Hockey Update
Academic Standouts Recognized