Dec. 1, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Two-point nights from freshman Tyler Lundey and sophomores Tanner Fritz and Ryan Dzingel, along with 22 saves by senior Brady Hjelle, helped the Ohio State men's hockey team to a 3-1 victory at Michigan State Saturday night at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, Mich. The win gives the Buckeyes, now 7-4-3 overall and 6-2-2-1 in the CCHA, a two-game sweep of the Spartans (4-8-2, 3-6-1-0 CCHA).
Ohio State will play three of its next four games in Columbus to close the first half of the season. The squad will open a home-and-home series vs. Robert Morris at 7:05 p.m. Friday in Value City Arena before the teams meet in Pittsburgh Saturday. Dec. 14-15, the Buckeyes will host Miami in a two-game CCHA series in Value City Arena.
Ohio State trailed 1-0 after the opening 20 minutes after a goal by MSU's Chris Forfar at 9:20 of the first period. In the second, Fritz tied the game at 6:50 before Lundey gave Ohio State the lead on a goal with just 1:05 left in the period. The Buckeyes held off the Spartans in the third and a shorthanded, empty net tally by Lundey, assisted by Fritz, with 21 seconds remaining sealed the win. Dzingel had two assists in the victory, while Fritz had the sole assist on Lundey's second goal, to give each a two-point game.
"It's unbelievable, especially on the road," Mark Osiecki, Ohio State head coach, said of getting a two-game sweep. "That's a huge bonus. Every weekend, you have to find a way to get some points, and all of a sudden you get six on the road? Give a lot of credit to our players. I told them, hats off to them. They've applied what we have said as coaches. We don't have all the answers, we're going to make mistakes, but they take what we say and apply it. Hats off to them."
The Spartans led 1-0 after the first period. Forfar opened the scoring at 9:20, set up by John Draeger and Jake Hildebrand. The Buckeyes outshot the Spartans, 11-10, in the period and each team had one power play chance.
Ohio State scored the only two goals of the second stanza to take a 2-1 lead. The first goal came at 6:50. Dzingel carried the puck into the zone and sophomore Matt Johnson won the battle for the puck by the net. He passed back to Fritz in front of the net, who was able to bury it before the MSU goalie could get in front of the shot. With time winding down, the Buckeyes rushed the puck up the ice. Dzingel passed down to junior Alex Szczechura in the faceoff circle. He backhanded a pass to a wide open Lundey in front of the net and he redirected it in to put Ohio State in the lead at 18:55. Hjelle stopped all nine shots he faced in the period, with the Buckeyes putting seven shots on net. The Spartans had the only power play in the period.
The teams were scoreless in the final period until a late Ohio State goal clinched the victory. Hjelle stopped a breakaway midway through to keep the Buckeyes in the lead, one of four saves he had in the period. Each team hit the post in the stanza - Dzingel's shot on the power play with about 11 minutes remaining clanged off the post, while the Spartans had a shot hit the post low with a little more than a minute left in regulation. The Spartans pulled Hildebrand late and an Ohio State too many men penalty gave Michigan State a 6-on-4 advantage with 51 seconds remaining. Fritz forced a turnover by the Buckeye blueline and won the race to the puck. He passed to Lundey coming down the left side and he scored into the empty net to seal the win. The teams had just 10 total shots on goal in the period, with Ohio State outshooting Michigan State, 6-4. Ohio State's penalty kill held the Spartans scoreless on three chances in the period and the Buckeyes had one chance with the man advantage.
For the game, Ohio State outshot Michigan State, 24-23. Hjelle played all 60 minutes and had 22 saves. Hildebrand played 59:13 for the Spartans and had 21 saves, allowing two goals.
Neither team was able to convert on the power play. Ohio State was 0-for-2 with the man advantage and held the Spartans scoreless on five chances.
Hjelle leads the CCHA with a .59 goals-against average and .978 save percentage in conference play, allowing four goals in six starts and seven games played. He has been the first star in all six of his league starts.
On the year, Hjelle has a 1.23 goals-against average and .957 save percentage, ranking second in the NCAA. He is tied for third with three shutouts.
For the weekend, he allowed one goal in 120 minutes between the pipes, stopping 53-of-54 (.981) shots, in his first back-to-back starts of the year.
Fritz, who had a five-game point streak ended Friday night vs. the Spartans, has two points in four of his last five games.
Dzingel is on a seven-game point streak, with four goals, six assists and 10 points in the stretch. The game was his fifth career two-assist outing and his second this season.
Fritz and Dzingel lead the Buckeyes with 13 points each. Fritz is first with 12 assists and Dzingel has a team-best six goals.
As a team, Ohio State is holding opponents to 1.86 goals a game.
Lundey had his first career multiple-point game and the first multiple-goal game for a Buckeye this season.
Szczechura has a point in four of his last five games, with a goal and three assists.
Freshman defenseman Craig Dalrymple was +3 for the second time this season (11/23/12 at Lake Superior State).