Drop the Puck The Ohio State men’s hockey team heads to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a two-game CCHA series with Lake Superior State this weekend. The Buckeyes (4-3-3, 3-1-2-1 CCHA) and Lakers (6-6-0, 3-3-0-0 CCHA) will meet at 7:35 p.m. Friday and 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Taffy Abel Arena.
Follow Along For both games vs. Lake Superior State, Ohio State/IMG Radio will carry the action over the air in Columbus on 1460 AM and live online on OhioStateBuckeyes.com and ESPNColumbus.com, with Herb Howenstine calling the action.
Links to subscription based America One video webcasts and live stats are on the Buckeye Hockey Gameday page (go.osu.edu/mhkygameday) and the men’s hockey schedule page on OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
Buckeye Brief Ohio State is coming off a two-game sweep of Northern Michigan, with a 2-0 win Friday and 4-2 victory Saturday in Value City Arena. The Buckeyes are now 4-3-3 overall and 3-1-2-1 in CCHA play. The squad is averaging 1.9 goals a game and holding opponents to 2.1 goals an outing. The power play has a goal in three-consecutive outings and was 3-for-12 last weekend, while the penalty kill is 38-for-46 (82.6 percent) on the year.
Sophomore Ryan Dzingel is first on the squad with eight points, sharing the goal lead with classmates Max McCormick and Matt Johnson with three tallies each and the assist lead with sophomore Tanner Fritz with five each. McCormick and Fritz are tied for second with seven points a piece. In goal, senior Brady Hjelle is 2-1-2 with a 1.55 goals-against average and .947 save percentage, ranking fifth and fourth in the NCAA, respectively. Freshman goalie Collin Olson is 2-2-1 with a 2.37 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.
Movember The Buckeyes are growing mustaches as part of the Movember movement to help raise money and bring awareness to men’s health issues. Fans can follow along with their progress online: go.osu.edu/mhkymovember, with photos updated weekly.
Last Time Out - Ohio State Sweeps Northern Michigan A team effort propelled Ohio State to a 2-0 victory over No. 19 Northern Michigan Friday in Value City Arena. Senior goalie Brady Hjelle stopped all 20 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season, while junior Travis Statchuk and sophomore Max McCormick scored for the Buckeyes and Ryan Dzingel had two assists. Ohio State dominated play in the first period, outshooting the Wildcats, 19-1, with Statchuk opening the scoring at 8:56 of the stanza. The teams were scoreless through the second, as NMU outshot Ohio State, 11-8. In the third, McCormick’s power play goal at 11:53 extended the Buckeye lead to 2-0. Hjelle added eight saves and the Buckeye defense held off the Wildcats for the final 1:40 with their net empty to preserve the shutout.
Saturday, third-period goals from juniors Alex Szczechura and Chris Crane lifted Ohio State men’s hockey team to a 4-2 victory and series sweep of No. 19 Northern Michigan Saturday in Value City Arena. The Buckeyes trailed 1-0 after the first period before back-to-back power play goals from redshirt freshman Riley Simpson and sophomore Ryan Dzingel in a 1:42 span gave the squad a 2-1 lead early in the second stanza. The Wildcats tied the game with a power play goal of their own at 6:34 of the second. Szczechura then broke the tie 1:50 into the third and Crane extended the lead to 4-2 at 8:06. Crane and sophomore Dzingel each had a goal and an assist in the game, while sophomore Tanner Fritz had two assists. Ohio State outshot the Wildcats, 42-14, in the contest.
Buckeyes vs. Lakers The Buckeyes trail the all-time series with Lake Superior State, 57-73-11, including 26-45-5 in Sault Ste. Marie, but in the last 10 meetings the teams are tied 4-4-2. The teams met twice last season. In Columbus Dec. 2-3 Ohio State posted two wins (5-2, 2-1). In the Soo in January, the Lakers won game one, 1-0, before the teams skated to a 4-4 tie in game two.
Laker Look Lake Superior State comes into the weekend 6-6-0 overall and 3-3-0 in the CCHA. The team split a series at home vs. Alabama-Huntsville last weekend (L 1-2, W 4-0) and split two games with Ferris State Nov. 9-10 in its last CCHA action (W 4-1, L 1-2). The Lakers are scoring and allowing 2.5 goals a game. The power play is 9-for-52 (.173) and the penalty kill is 40-for 50 (.800).
Senior Domenic Monardo and Nick McParland and sophomore Chris Ciotti are tied for first with nine points each, with Ciotti posting a team-best six goals. McParland, Monardo and junior Zach Sternberg are tied for first with six assists each. Laker goalie Kevin Murdock has played in eight games and has a 1.92 goals-against average and .941 save percentage.
The Last Time: Buckeyes vs. Lakers Ohio State and Lake Superior State last met Jan. 26-27 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., splitting the series.
In game one, Ohio State lost, 1-0. The Buckeyes outshot the Lakers, 34-24, in the contest, with Buckeye senior goalie Cal Heeter making 23 saves, but an early first-period goal from Kyle Haines for LSSU stood as the gamewinner. LSSU goalie Kevin Kapalka stopped all 34 Buckeye attempts in the victory.
In the second game, a hat trick from Max McCormick, along with three assists from rookie Tanner Fritz, led Ohio State to a 4-4 overtime tie at Lake Superior State. The Lakers won the shootout, 2-1 in three rounds, to pick up the extra point in the CCHA standings. McCormick scored the Buckeyes’ shootout goal to complete his night.
The Buckeyes were ahead 2-1 after the first 20 minutes on two goals by McCormick. He opened the scoring at 8:38 before the Lakers tied the game at 16:33 of the opening stanza. With time winding down, McCormick was able to get the puck across the line, with the goal credited at 19:59. The Lakers scored twice in the first 6:31 of the second period to tie the game and take the lead. The goals came 23 seconds apart and were both on the power play, as Domenic Monardo tallied at 6:08 and Kellan Lain followed at 6:31. Less than four minutes later McCormick completed his hat trick with a power play goal at 10:18. Al McLean followed with a goal at 11:54 for a 4-3 Buckeye lead through two periods. The only goal of the third came from the Lakers’ Zach Trotman at 9:45 and was scored on the power play. Overtime saw the Buckeyes with an extended 5-on-3 advantage, but the team was unable to convert. The Lakers had a power play of their own late, but Ohio State held LSSU off the scoreboard. The game went to a shootout following the 65 minutes of play.
Between the Pipes Ohio State goalies senior Brady Hjelle and freshman Collin Olson have split starts the first five series. Hjelle is second in the CCHA and 5th in the NCAA with a 1.55 goals-against average and ranks first in the league and fourth nationally with a .947 save percentage. He stopped all 20 shots he faced last Friday vs. Northern Michigan for his second shutout of the season. Hjelle has allowed two goals in his last four starts combined and has 30-plus saves in three of five starts on the year. In his three CCHA starts Hjelle has a league-best .32 goals-against average and .988 save percentage, stopping 79-of-80 shots.
Olson, who had a career-high 42 saves vs. Alaska Nov. 10, has a 2.37 goals-against average and his .922 save percentage is third among league freshmen.
Buckeye This and That • The Buckeyes’ two wins vs. Northern Michigan marked the team’s first sweep since Dec. 2-3, 2011 when the squad swept Lake Superior State in Columbus. • The Buckeyes outshot Northern Michigan, 77-34, in the series. Shots were 19-1 in the first period of the game Friday and ended with Ohio State ahead, 35-20. The Buckeyes had a season-high 42 shots Saturday and held the Wildcats to an opponent season-low 14, the first time Ohio State held a team to 15 or fewer shots since Nov. 11, 2011 vs. Northern Michigan (13). Ohio State is now averaging 29.1 shots a game, with opponents putting 30.5 on net per outing. • Ohio State is 3-1-2 in its last six games after posting just one win in its last four games of the year. • Ryan Dzingel and Tanner Fritz both enter the series at Lake Superior State on three-game point streaks, with four assists in the stretch. Dzingel also has a tally for five points in the last three games combined. • The four goals scored by the Buckeyes Friday vs. the Wildcats were a season high and the team’s six goals on the weekend were also a season best. Sophomore Ryan Dzingel led the Buckeyes with four points in the series and shared the team lead with classmate Tanner Fritz with three assists each. • Ryan Dzingel had his third career two-assist game and first this season Friday night vs. NMU. Saturday, he had a goal and an assist for his fifth career multiple-point game. • Max McCormick has a point in seven of 10 games on the year and is tied for second on the team with seven points. He had a goal and an assist vs. Northern Michigan. • Tanner Fritz had two assists Saturday, his third career two-point game and second this season after a goal and an assist at Minnesota Duluth Oct. 13. He had a career-high three assists in the Buckeyes’ last game at Lake Superior State Jan. 28. • Redshirt freshman Riley Simpson scored his first career goal Saturday night vs. Northern Michigan, while junior Travis Statchuk scored his first goal of the season, and first since Jan. 21, 2011, Friday night. Alex Szczechura netted his first goal of the year in the win Saturday. • Ohio State’s power play was 3-for-12 (25 percent) vs. Northern Michigan in the series. The team was 2-for-8 Saturday, marking the first game with multiple PPGs this year. The team, which went six-consecutive games without a power play tally, now has at least on PPG in each of the last three games. • The Buckeyes trailed 1-0 after the first period Saturday before taking a 2-1 lead early in the second period en route to the 4-2 win. It was the team’s first win when trailing after one since Nov. 11, 2011 when they came from behind vs. NMU. • Senior Devon Krogh leads the current squad in career games played with 103. He had his first assist of the year Saturday vs. Northern Michigan. • Chris Crane had his first two-point game of the season Saturday vs. the Wildcasts with a goal and an assist. He has seven multiple-point games in his career, with four two-point outings. • As a team, Ohio State has 157 recorded blocked shots, while its opponents have blocked just 111 of its attempts. Justin DaSilva is first with 18 recorded blocked shots, followed by Curtis Gedig and Al McLean with 12 each. All but one Buckeye skaters have at least one blocked shot. (Individual blocks were not recorded in the series at Minnesota Duluth). • Seventeen Buckeyes skaters have at least one point this year, with all but two who have played seven or more games posting at least one. Eleven Buckeyes have at least one goal and 15 have at least one assist. • Each of the four Buckeye rookie skaters has recorded his first career point (if not more) so far this season. Anthony Greco scored the team’s first goal of the year in the season opener at Minnesota Duluth Oct. 12 and Tyler Lundey and Craig Dalrymple had assists in the contest. Sam Jardine posted his first point at Quinnipiac Oct. 20. Greco had the squad’s first two-assist game of the year with two helpers at Bowling Green Oct. 27, while Lundey had his first collegiate goal vs. the Falcons that same night. (Greco and Jardine are both currently out with injuries.)
Up Next The Buckeyes will play a second consecutive road series, taking on Michigan State Nov. 30/Dec. 1 in East Lansing, Mich. The teams will meet at 8:05 p.m. Friday in a game televised live by BTN, with the game Saturday at 6:05 p.m. and televised live by Comcast. Both games can be heard on 1460 AM and online on ESPNColumbus.com or OhioStateBuckeyes.com.