Jan. 18, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s hockey team lost the weekend series opener to Northern Michigan, 4-2, Friday night at Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich. The Buckeyes (8-10-5, 7-5-3-1 CCHA) and Wildcats (10-10-4, 4-9-4-1 CCHA) will close the series at 7:35 p.m. Saturday in Marquette.
After a scoreless first period, the Wildcats scored twice midway through the second for a 2-0 advantage. Buckeye freshman Anthony Greco tallied less than two minutes later to cut the lead in half. Northern Michigan regained its two-goal lead early in the third and Ohio State again responded when Tanner Fritz scored less than a minute later. Ohio State, which did not take a penalty in the game, could get no closer and the Wildcats clinched the win with an empty-net goal. Buckeye senior goalie Brady Hjelle had 28 saves for the squad.
In the opening period, Ohio State was outshot, 9-4, but also hit the post twice in the stanza. The Buckeyes had the lone power play chance.
The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead with two goals in less than four minutes in the middle period. Kory Kaunitso tallied at 11:19, followed by a score from Erik Higby at 15:11. At 17:09 Ohio State responded with a goal from Greco, assisted by sophomore Ryan Dzingel and freshman defenseman Sam Jardine, who started the play in the Ohio State zone. Shots were 12-10 in favor of Ohio State in the period and Ohio State again had the only power play, a five-minute major that carried into the third.
At 3:48 of the third Darren Nowick scored for the Wildcats to extend the lead to 3-1 but Fritz’s goal at 4:32, scored on his rebound with an assist from senior Devon Krogh, again pulled Ohio State within one. The Buckeyes had a late power play chance but were unable to convert and the Wildcats’ Matt Thurber sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 20 seconds remaining.
Ohio State was outshot, 32-27, in the game. Hjelle played 59:52 and had 28 saves. NMU’s Jared Coreau had 25 saves in all 60 minutes.
The Buckeyes were scoreless on the only three power play chances of the night.
• Ohio State had no penalties assessed for the first time since Jan. 11, 2002 vs. Lake Superior State in Columbus (a 1-1 OT tie in which the Lakers also were not whistled for a penalty).
• The Buckeyes have not allowed a power play goal in their last three games (10-for-10) and have held their opponents scoreless in eight of the last 12 games (33-for-37, .892).
• Hjelle allowed more than one goal for just the sixth time in 17 appearances this year. He is first in the NCAA with a .949 save percentage and second with a 1.53 goals-against average.
• Greco, who was playing for the first time since Nov. 9 after missing the last 15 games with an injury, netted his second career goal.
• Fritz is second for Ohio State with 15 points, including a team-best 12 assists. • Dzingel leads the Buckeyes with 17 points and is first on the team with nine goals.
Mason Jobst - All-American