Szczechura-Fritz-McCormick Line leads Buckeyes to 6-3 Win over No. 6 Western Michigan
Feb. 16, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Buckeye line of junior Alex Szczechura and sophomores Tanner Fritz and Max McCormick combined for 11 points, leading the Ohio State men’s hockey team to a 6-3 victory over No. 6-ranked Western Michigan Saturday in Value City Arena. Szczechura notched his first career hat trick and four-point night, while Fritz had a goal and three assists for four points and McCormick had a three-point outing with a goal and two assists. Ohio State is now 13-12-7 overall and 12-7-5-1 to stand in a tie for fourth place in the CCHA. The Broncos fall to 18-8-6 and 14-6-4-2 in conference play.
The Buckeyes came from a goal down twice, closing out the game with four unanswered tallies for the win. Szczechura put Ohio State on the board just 1:44 into the contest but the Broncos tied the game at 4:18 and pushed ahead at 13:34 of the opening period. At 11:34 of the second Fritz knotted the game at 2 but the Broncos scored a power play goal 42 seconds later for a 3-2 advantage. Just 1:20 later Ohio State answered with a power play goal of its own from Szczechura, tying the game at 3. A little more than a minute after that McCormick put Ohio State in the lead and sophomore Darik Angeli made it a two-goal advantage 3:05 later, with Ohio State taking a 5-3 lead into the second intermission. Szczechura completed his hat trick at 5:22 of the third, the only goal of the stanza. Senior defenseman Brandon Martell had two assists in the game for his first career two-point outing.
Ohio State trailed 2-1 after the first period. Just 1:44 into the game Szczechura redirected a shot from the point from Martell past the Bronco goalie, with Fritz picking up the second assist, winning the faceoff to start the play. At 4:18 the Broncos’ Justin Kovachs put in a rebound to tie the game and Western Michigan took the lead at 13:34 when David Killip redirected the puck in out of the air off a crossing pass. Ohio State outshot Western Michigan, 10-7, in the period and had the only power play.
The Buckeyes outscored the Broncos, 4-1, in the second period, with all five goals coming in the final 8:26 (and four in a span of 3:10). Fritz tied the game at 2 at 11:34 with the teams skating 4-on-4, scoring from just outside the crease off a pass from McCormick who was behind the net. The Broncos regained the lead at 12:16, 42 seconds later, when Dennis Brown scored on the power play. At 13:36 Szczechura netted a power play goal of his own to tie the game, assisted by sophomore Ryan Dzingel and senior goalie Brady Hjelle, who led Dzingel into the zone. Just 1:08 later McCormick, Fritz and Szczechura combined for a goal by McCormick, giving the Buckeyes a 4-3 lead. At 17:49 a shot by Angeli trickled through, assisted by classmate Nick Oddo and Martell, for a 5-3 Buckeye advantage. Ohio State outshot Western Michigan, 17-10, in the period. The Broncos had three power play chances, with Ohio State 1-for-2.
Szczechura completed his hat trick at 5:22 of the third, finishing a 2-on-1 with Fritz, as McCormick picked up the second assist. Ohio State outshot Western Michigan, 12-8, in the period and each team had one power play chance.
In the game, Ohio State outshot Western Michigan, 39-26. Hjelle had 22 saves in all 60 minutes. WMU’s Frank Slubowski started and played the first 45:52, making 25 saves on 31 shots. Lukas Hafner came on in relief and stopped all eight shots he faced in 14:08.
Each team was 1-for-4 on the power play.
On Alex Szczechura’s nine goals in 15 games
On offensive strategy
Tanner Fritz, Ohio State sophomore forward
Alex Szczechura, Ohio State junior forward
On Ohio State’s offensive play
On gaining home ice advantage for the playoffs
Andy Murray, Western Michigan head coach
On Western Michigan’s play
On final score