COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 15/14 Ohio State men’s hockey team stayed unbeaten, downing Niagara 6-2 Saturday in Dwyer Arena in Niagara University, N.Y., to complete a weekend sweep. The Buckeyes, who beat Niagara 10-2 Friday, are now 5-0-2 on the year.
Ohio State 6, Niagara 2, Briefly
Ohio State converted twice on a major power play in the first period, with freshmen Ronnie Hein and Tanner Laczynski scoring. Niagara scored midway through the second to cut the Buckeye lead in half, but Hein scored at 16:36 of the second to push the Buckeye advantage back to two. Ohio State tallied three goals in the first five minutes of the third period to take control, going ahead 6-1. A late Niagara score was the final goal of the game. Ohio State outshot Niagara, 41-24, in the win and was 2-for-5 on the power play.
Buckeyes Unbeaten Through Seven
With a 5-0-2 ledger to open the season, Ohio State is undefeated in its first seven games for the first time since the 1983-84 squad began its campaign with 13 wins in a row. The Buckeyes are the first team in the NCAA this season to get through their first seven games without a loss.
The Buckeyes closed last season with a 6-1-2 mark, giving the squad an 11-1-4 ledger in its last 16 games combined. Twenty letterwinners returned from last year’s team.
Quoting Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik
On the series at Niagara:
“Any time you can go on the road and get two wins it’s a good weekend. Tonight was a back and forth game, with tighter checking than last night, and both teams played better than game one. We were able to break through early in the third to open the game up.”
On the upcoming home-and-home series with Robert Morris:
“It’s important to get back to work and have a good week of preparation to get ready for the series with Robert Morris. I know the players are excited to get back in front of our home crowd Friday night.
Quoting Buckeye freshman forward Ronnie Hein
On the win:
“I thought we did a great job as a team of coming out for the second game and setting the tone. We could have come out with a laidback mentality after game one, but we talked as a group and wanted to be better. I thought we played a better all-around game tonight.”
Quoting Buckeye junior forward Matthew Weis
On game two of the series:
“It was a great weekend for the guys. We knew tonight was going to be a different game than Friday and they were going to come out with everything they had, but I thought we answered the bell well. We just talked about sticking to the game plan that makes us successful. We wavered a little bit, but for the majority we did our jobs and all the lines chipped in.”
Freshmen Lead the Way on Game Two Scoresheet
In all, 13 Buckeyes had at least one point in the game, with five goal scorers.
Freshman Ronnie Hein had the first two-goal game of his Buckeye career, while classmate Tanner Laczynski had a career-high three points on a goal and two assists. Freshman defenseman Gordi Myer picked up his first career assist and rookie Sam McCormick had his second helper as a Buckeye.
Sophomore Tommy Parran, who had two goals and three points Friday, had two assists in the game two win, while junior Matthew Weis had a goal and an assist for two points after a career-best four points, including three assists, Friday. Weis led the Big Ten with six points over the weekend.
Two Buckeye Power Play Goals in the First
Ohio State led 2-0 after the first period on the strength of two power play goals on a major power play. At 13:18 freshman Ronnie Hein scored off an assist from classmate Tanner Laczynski, with senior Drew Brevig also assisting. Ohio State had an extended 5-on-3 chance during the major but was unable to convert, but shortly after Laczynski scored a goal of his own at 16:55 from right in front after a shot by junior Matt Joyaux, with junior Matthew Weis picking up the second assist.
Shots were 11-3 in favor of Ohio State in the period.
Each Team Scores in the Second
The Purple Eagles scored a power play goal of their own 9:39 into the second period to draw within one (2-1). At 16:39 Ronnie Hein notched his second of the night for the Buckeyes to regain the Buckeyes’ two-goal lead. Tommy Parran and Sam McCormick had the assists on Hein’s goal, his fourth of the year.
Shots in the period ended with the Buckeyes ahead 16-10.
Buckeyes Pull Away in the Third
Ohio State scored three times in the first 4:39 of the third period to extend the lead to 6-1.
Just 36 seconds into the stanza senior Nick Schilkey scored after a stretch pass from classmate Josh Healey let him get behind the defense. It was his team-best eighth goal of the year, his 50th goal as a Buckeye and his 99th career point for the Scarlet and Gray. Freshman defenseman Gordi Myer had the second assist for his first Buckeye point.
At 4:00 Tanner Laczynski found Matthew Weis at the far post and he scored his fourth of the year, with Tommy Parran also assisting. Sophomore John Wiitala tallied 39 seconds later, assisted by classmate Mason Jobst and junior David Gust.
Niagara scored its second goal at 15:20 of the period.
The teams combined for 25 shots in the period, with the Buckeyes ahead 14-11.
Between the Pipes
Buckeye senior goalie Matt Tomkins, starting his fifth consecutive game and playing in a sixth straight, made 22 saves and allowed two goals while playing all 60 minutes. He has a 1.85 goals-against average and .928 save percentage this season.
The Buckeyes outshot the Purple Eagles, 41-24, in the game.
Ohio State was 2-for-5 on the power play in the win, its fourth game in a row with at least one power play goal. The squad is 8-for-32 this season (.250), ranking in the Top 5 nationally.
The Buckeye penalty kill was 3-for-4 vs. Niagara.
Points About Points
• Ohio State is in the Top 5 nationally, scoring 4.86 goals a game.
• Freshman Tanner Laczynski leads the Buckeyes and the Big Ten with eight assists and 11 points and is fifth in scoring among NCAA rookies with 1.57 points per game. He has nine points in his last four games combined (3g, 6a).
• Rookie Ronnie Hein is tied for eighth in the nation among freshmen with 1.29 points per game. Hein has four goals and five assists for nine points this season.
• Nick Schilkey and Matthew Weis are tied for second on the team with 10 points. Schilkey is first with eight goals, ranking in the Top 10 in the NCAA with 1.14 goals per game and leading the Big Ten in goals and goals per game. He has three more goals than any other B1G player.
• Every Buckeye who has skated in more than one game this season has at least one point, with 21 skaters getting on the scoresheet. The squad has 11 goal scorers and 21 players with at least one assist.
• Defensively, Ohio State is holding opponents to 2.14 goals per game, ranking in the NCAA Top 15.
The Buckeyes will take on Robert Morris in a home-and-home series. The teams will meet at 7 p.m. Friday in Value City Arena in Columbus before a 7 p.m. tilt in Pittsburgh Saturday.
The next week, the Buckeyes will host UConn in the first two-game home series of the season for Ohio State.
Buckeye Hockey Update – Jan. 15