Yep. Between graduation and early departures they lost something like their top five scorers from last season. Almost half of this year's team is freshmen.
Second from the left is Buckeye assistant captain Kara Gust.
We tried a different kind of format this year, but always glad to know my "art" has fans :)
Thanks for reading :)
Probably Michigan, because the hockey gods hate us. Seriously, though, I'm terrible at brackets. If I were to hazard a guess... I never know what's going on out east, but in the west Minnesota State is looking good. My dark horse right now is Duluth. They've been steadily climbing the rankings. They're also pretty battle-tested. 21 of their 26 games this season have been played against then-top 20 ranked teams.
Unless they pull off some spectacular sweeps they'll probably finish fifth and travel to North Dakota or Duluth for the first round of the WCHA playoffs. They've got a healthy lead over Bemidji State. Even if Ohio State struggles down the stretch the ladies should stay ahead of the Beavers. I just don't see them moving up. UND and Duluth are strong teams and their out schedules are not as daunting as OSU's. Wherever they play those playoff games, the Bucks are going to be a tough team to beat. I'm not sure they have enough oomph to take the entire tournament, but they can be a spoiler for sure.
The most intriguing thing is that there is an outside chance that the Buckeyes could earn an at large bid to the NCAA tourney. Unless a nutty Cinderella upset steals an autobid the WCHA is going to send three teams to the big dance, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and either Duluth, UND, or OSU. The Bucks would need a really strong finish to unseat the Bulldogs or North Dakota but they do have plenty of opportunities for quality wins coming up. It's a very long shot but the fact that it's even still a possibility is exciting for the program.
They have to recruit so many years ahead now that it can be difficult to tell how talented a commit is (e.g. Ryan Dzingel, not a highly hyped as a recruit, turned out to be a star) but yes, I think the future looks good for OSU.
Rohlik and Co. have some good kids coming in the next couple seasons. Three are already NHL draft picks (Tyler Nanne - NYR, Miguel Fidler - FLA, and Dakota Joshua - TOR) and others are likely to have been selected by the time they arrive in Columbus.
The junior careers of commitments, like Joshua, Tyler Busch, and Tanner Laczynski, are blossoming this season. Laczynski was invited to the USHL's Top Prospect game. He also skated with Team USA at the last Ivan Hlinka tournament. Bucks fans can look forward to seeing Max McCormick's little brother Sam, a talented player in his own right, as well.
So, yeah. Good players are coming, ones that are more suited for the up tempo kind of game Ohio State is transitioning to. And don't give up on this year's freshmen yet. They had a slow start to their college careers, but they have a lot more skills than they've shown so far.
Thanks for reading! I love that there's an audience for it :)
Hey, life is like that. The rest of the season could be a slog. There is a glimmer of hope for some competitive hockey down the stretch, though. The Bucks looked a lot better on Friday than the final score indicated and they kept that pace up for most of tonight's game as well. I'm not saying they're about to contend for the B1G title or anything, but we may still see some decent games out of this team. It'd be a nice send off for the seniors and a stepping stone toward next season.