Ohio State, Penn State Advance to Big Ten Hockey Semifinals

By Aubrey Nelson on March 21, 2014 at 8:05a
Max McCormick is about to destroy Drew Brevig in celebration

Photo: Larry Radloff/Ohio State University


How about that Big Ten tournament, eh? Both quarterfinal games go to overtime. Penn State beats Michigan again. The Buckeyes come back to defeat the Spartans. Big goals, huge saves, Day One of the B1G tourney had it all. Let's take a quick look back at yesterday's action. Then we'll preview Ohio State's semifinal match up against Minnesota. 

What Happened

Ohio State did not get the start they wanted in this one. For the first 10 minutes Michigan State took the game to the Buckeyes. Spartan captain Greg Wolfe put MSU on the board during a disastrous Ohio State shift.

b1G Tourney All games on BTN
Quarterfinals PSU 2, MCH 1 2OT
  MSU 1, OSU 2 OT
Semifinals (FRI) PSU vs WIS (3 ET)
  OSU vs MIN (8 ET)
Finals (SAT) Semi Winners (8 ET)

Fun features of this shift included a turnover, two Buckeyes colliding, and the rest getting caught flat-footed. Steve Rohlik joked after the game about needing to punt for field position in the early going. It's only funny because OSU won. 

The tide began to turn for the Bucks when the Spartans took consecutive penalties midway through the opening frame. Though they didn't score on either power play, they were finally able to generate a few scoring chances.

They built on that momentum a bit further, but (rightfully) no one was pleased about the team's first period performance. Ryan Dzingel declared it "unacceptable" during an interview with BTN's Fred Pletsch. Several postgame interviews referenced "a conversation" the team had during the break.

Whatever was said, it worked. Ohio State looked like a different team the rest of the game. They skated harder. Every line battled. Michigan State goalie Jake Hildebrand weathered the storm very well, but Tanner Fritz finally broke the goose egg at 16:26 of the second period.

The Bucks kept coming. Hildebrand kept shutting them down. The Spartan defenders blocked a bunch of shots. Buckeye netminder Christian Frey rose to the occasion, making several key stops. One of the biggest of the night can be seen at 0:47 of the highlight video.


There are no sure things in sudden death overtime, but the longer the game went on the stronger the Bucks seemed to get. There probably weren't many people surprised that Ohio State prevailed in this one. However, I doubt that many folks had Drew Brevig penciled in as the OT hero. The tally was the freshman defenseman's third of the season.

There was some doubt about the validity of the goal. Anthony Greco made contact with a lunging Hildebrand prior to Brevig's shot, but after a brief consultation with the video the refs signalled a good goal and the end of the game. My best guess is that the refs determined that Hildebrand had sufficient time to recover before the shot. 

In the undercard match up Penn State took down Michigan for the third time this season.It took an extra 30 minutes, but a Zach Saar goal finally put the Wolverines out of the B1G tourney. (And maybe out of the NCAA tourney as well, though I'm not holding my breath.)

Both Michigan goalie Zach Nagelvoort and Nittany Lion netminder Matt Skoff were impressive in the contest. Eric Scheid may have had the save of the night, though, kicking this puck off the goal line just in the nick of time.

By the end of the day fans had been treated to two extremely entertaining games (though PSU-Michigan started very slowly) and the state of Michigan was out of the Big Ten tournament.

Seriously, awesome day of hockey.

What's Next

The Bucks move on to a semifinal showdown against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. That game is set to begin tonight at 8pm ET. Ohio State and Minnesota last faced off in the waning weeks of the regular season.

The Gophers won the Friday game. The Buckeyes had to rally on Saturday, but they came out of the second intermission with what Rohlik called their "best period of the season." Nick Schilkey tied things up and Ohio State dominated in overtime but Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox stymied chance after OSU chance to preserve the (official) tie.

Schilkey netted the winner in the shootout to send the good people of Columbus home happy. The Buckeyes' success in that game no doubt gives them a measure of confidence heading into tonight's tilt.

The Gophers are the No. 1 team in the country for a reason. They're going to be tough to beat. However, if OSU plays the entire game tonight the way they played the final three-quarters or so last night the Buckeyes just might get a shot at that big, shiny trophy come Saturday.

In the other semifinal, Penn State takes on Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions have yet to defeat the Badgers this season. They came awfully close, though. The last meeting of the year between the teams went to overtime where Wisconsin's Mark Zengerle was able to solve Matt Skoff.

Could we be headed for more overtime today? Wouldn't surprise me any. Penn State-Wisconsin gets underway at 3pm ET. Ohio State-Minnesota goes at 8pm ET. Both games are set to be broadcast on BTN, BTN2Go, and 1460 AM.

Where to Watch

The Scarlet Liners successfully cheered the Buckeyes to victory last night. Since you don't mess with a good thing they're hosting another watch party tonight. You can hang with the cool kids and see Ohio State take on Minnesota at Cbus Sports Pub on Henderson Rd. Check out the event details on their Facebook page.

Further Reading


Comments Show All Comments

Dayton Buckeye's picture

Great Game Bucks!  Start fast against those Gophers.

+1 HS
Meaty19's picture

Michigan St has had to much success in the B1G this year, so this is great news. Great job Bucks!

+1 HS
NC_Buckeye's picture

We're not used to seeing this kind of hockey (compared to Buckeye players of season's past). They can get down a couple of goals and fight back. Am really impressed with these guys.

Also starting to see the possibilities with Rohlik as the head man. I forget which BTN analyst said it yesterday but it sounds like Rohlik has a different strategy as far as defense. He wants to go with smaller, quicker guys like Lucia does at Minnesota.

Aubrey, are you seeing that focus in Rohlik/Larson/Exter's recruiting efforts?

+1 HS
Aubrey Nelson's picture

It's harder to get a scouting read on defensemen than scorers, but I think the BTN guy is right. None of the Buckeyes' committed blueliners are particularly large. Gordie Myer (Cleveland Barons) is the only one currently at the 6' mark. Tyler Nanne (Edina HS) is by all accounts a great skater. I suspect Janik Moser (Muskegon - USHL) isn't too shabby in the skating department, growing up on Germany's Olympic sized rinks. The label I've seen most often applied to John Wiitala (Waterloo - USHL) is "smart", which is not the same as mobile but isn't "a presence", "physical", or any other scouting code word for big. Don't know much about the other defense recruits, Michael Davies (St. Louis AAA Blues), Bradley Johnson (Indiana - USHL).


William's picture

Moser is about 5'11" so he's not a towering presence either. He's a smooth skater and was one of the few bright spots for Germany at the WJC this past year. He's definitely more of a puck-mover than physical presence. 

BucksfanXC's picture

Is wining this our only chance of an NCAA bid?

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Aubrey Nelson's picture

Yep. Bucks need to win the Big Ten tournament and get the autobid.

Hovenaut's picture

A completely M...igan-free semi-finals sounds pucktastic to me. Good luck Buckeyes!

+5 HS
rampageripster's picture

It was pretty awesome to be at.  Going again tonight to be 4 dots of scarlet and gray in a sea of maroon and gold.  

Cause I couldn't go for three

+3 HS
Crumb's picture

It certainly turned yesterday around for me.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

+1 HS
TMac's picture

That was FUN!!  On to the Championship!!

ONE Not Done!

NC_Buckeye's picture

Let's win tomorrow and get the NCAA autobid.

Zimmy07's picture


I needed that.  Thank you Hockey Bucks!


southbymidwest's picture

Wow! 3-1 Bucks over Minnesota! Hope you had a great time at the game Rampageripster! On to play Wisconsin!

To be honest, with all of the drama associated with the firing of the previous coach and the decommitments afterwards, along with this being the first D-1 head coaching job for Coach Rohlik (although he had been at OSU a few years as asst. coach, had been with solid programs before that, and played on the NCAA winning Wisconsin Badgers team), I am happily surprised as to how well the team has done this year. Onward and upward Bucks! Beat the Badgers!

+1 HS
William's picture

Great win tonight. Time for them to smack around those damn Badgers and get the bid for the NCAA. 

Go1Bucks's picture

Sweet Win, something OSU needed right now, and well deserved.

Keep it going Puck Bucks!

Go Bucks!

Haybucks's picture

Ohio State won the inaugural CCHA tournament in '72. Deja vu?

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


+1 HS
Haybucks's picture

Well, that didn't turn out very well.  Too B1G of an advantage for Bucky to play one less game.

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain