What a difference a week made. After letting Cleveland State hang around far too long, and with several starters out, the Buckeyes asserted themselves offensively against Boston.
Pouring in 17 goals, this was a step forward for Ohio State, winning by the same 7-goal margin as last year. There were more than a few surprises, so let's get right into it.
After posting 16 saves last week, Josh Kirson was supplanted in net by Skylar Wahlund, who got the start, 40 minutes in net, and the W.
Wahlund had 8 saves during his time in net, and did well enough to warrant a conti ued stay between the pipes. Kirson had 3 saves of his own in 12 minutes of action, and true freshman Mike Clibanoff had 2 minutes of action as the Buckeyes closed out the game.
As a side note, I am feeling good about my goalie predictions in the main preview.
Defensively, the HUGE surprise was true freshman Buchanan Dunavant getting the start at close defense.
Jed Manning (Hill Academy) and George Walsh (Calvert Hall) come from two of the best high school programs in the world, with Manning having the advantage of a year in the program, but Dunavant beat them both out to start.
Dunavant had a single groundball on the day, but it's very interesting to see a kid from Tennessee be a Buckeye start two games in. On the whole, the defense played great in every quarter except the 3rd, where Boston poured in 6 goals.
Additionally, the Terriers managed 52 shots, though only 21 were on goal. That's a +19 in shot margin for Boston, who themselves were peppered last week against Providence.
Still, holding the Terriers to a SOG% of 40% is pretty good. James Burr (6 goals) and Chris Gray (1 goal, 4 assists) rocked the Buckeyes, but the rest of Boston's squad was silent.
A decent, but not great showing for the defense.
On offense, the Buckeyes got sophomore Colby Smith and freshman Jack Myers back, which made a world of difference.
OSU only had 33 shots, but put 22 on net, a SOG% of 67%. And, having scored 17 goals, the Buckeyes had a whopping 52% for their shot %.
It's been a marvelously efficient year thus far for the Buckeyes, who are boasting a shot % of 45% so far this year. That comes with the huge caveat of having only played Cleveland State and Boston, but is impressive nonetheless.
And the usual suspects played a massive role today.
Jack Jasinski was on fire today, erupting for 5 goals on 6 shots. His dodging was exceptional, and he will be a handful for every team this year.
Tre Leclaire had another great day, scoring 4 goals and dishing out an assist. The big Canuck was menacing as a step down shooter all day.
Ohio State really made use of wing dodges today, utilizing the pick and roll to put Boston in bad spots all over. True freshman Jack Myers really helped Jasinski as well, scoring once himself and handing out 3 dimes.
Myers is going to be an exceptional player during his Buckeye career. Colbys Smith and Barker scored two goals each, with Smith having an assist of his own.
True freshmen were more visible this week, with Brandon Fisher, Zach Ludd, Matt Clibanoff, TJ Hendricks, and Johnny Wiseman all seeing time in the offense. Wiseman has played in both games this year, marking him as a contributer to watch.
All games won't be this easy, so the freshmen will see fewer minutes moving forward, but it is nice to see who the staff rates highly. Only 33 shots is a bit concerning, but it's hard to argue with such a high offensive output.
Really, the biggest struggle is special teams. Again.
OSU at least converted once this game, going 1-3 on Man Up. That's a marked improvement from last week's 0-6, but isn't really much to brag about.
Boston, on the other hand, had 6 opportunities and converted 2 of them. OSU has allowed opponents 12 Man Up opportunities through its first two games, which isn't particularly good news.
Allowing 33% of those opportunities to be converted is pretty good, but the Buckeyes really need to step up their own special teams game.
It's their biggest weakness thus far, aside from shot margin, and could definitely be a pitfall as the schedule ramps up.
Regardless, this was a classy win, and showed improvement. Hopefully the team continues to gel, with a trip to Massachusetts on the horizon next week.
2-0, strong start!