Full disclosure, I had a 4 hour coaching deal this afternoon, so this is a tad late and I was unable to do a play-by-play. But the Buckeyes are 5-0, through the fluff with a good win against Marquette, and boy does it set up the rest of the year nicely.
I managed to catch most of the 1st quarter, where Ohio State could barely string 3 passes together.
It was rough, as it seemed the rain was causing serious issues for the offense. Marquette opened the scoring with a diving effort into Kirson's crease, though Tre Leclaire tied it up later on with a blast from 15 yards.
From then on, it was all OSU.
Marquette's offense outscored Ohio State 3-2 in the 3rd, but didn't win another quarter. None of the quarters featured Marquette outshooting the Buckeyes in total shots.
Marquette scored nearly 30% of their shots, but the Buckeyes continued a hot start by shooting 32.5% in the first game really affected by elements. Marquette didn't have any player score more than 2 goals, but had 3 players tied at 2.
The Buckeyes were led by Jackson Reid who had himself a day with five tallies, including a no angle rocket from the left wing in the 2nd quarter that was outstanding. Tre Leclaire had another hat trick for the Buckeyes, adding more goals to his team-leading total.
Jack Jasinski only had 1 goal today, but dished out 3 assists to finish second on the team in points with 4. The beautiful part of this Buckeye team is that if one player has a quiet day on offense, another is there to take his place.
Leclaire and Jasinski are constant threats, but teams are finding out fast that the 2019 team isn't shallow on O like the 2018 team was. Jack Myers and Jackson Reid have made teams pay for trying to keep a lid on the known quantities thus far.
And its resulted in a squad that is 5-0.
Defensively, the Buckeyes managed to keep Marquette below 10 goals for the first time all season. Interestingly, Buchanan Dunavant was dropped from the team altogether for Marquette.
I would bet it's an injury, but in his stead was Joey Salisbury getting a start in his first action all season, I believe. Regardless, the Buckeyes managed to hold the Golden Eagles to a season-low 31 shots, with only 17 of them being on goal.
A SOG % of 55% is absolutely outstanding defensively, and speaks to this unit getting some kinks ironed out. It was an impressive, fairly complete performance after getting shellacked in the 4th quarter by Bucknell.
It was exactly the response the Buckeyes needed, and sets them up nicely moving forward.
In goal, Josh Kirson did an okay job holding Marquette at bay. In the first quarter, Kirson had 4 saves, including some nice parries of shots to the offside at head height.
After that, though, the saves steadily declined. Kirson has certainly improved over a shaky campaign in 2018, but is still not at an All-B1G level.
It certainly helps that the defense kept the Golden Eagles from peppering Kirson with shots, but the Buckeyes will need to see more from him to get a deep postseason run. There is still time, however.
And it's more than a little nitpicky after the team moved to 5-0.
At the faceoff X, Justin Inacio turned in yet another fantastic performance. A week after going 74% at the X, Inacio went 18-25 and 72% against the Golden Eagles. He's been getting better each week, and will certainly be in the running for All-American honors if he keeps it up.
Inacio has helped the Buckeyes immensely, and Marquette was so sure he would be dominant that they began the game with a pole at the faceoff X. Their strategy was to make the draw a scrum, and get the ball on the ground.
It worked a couple of times, but couldn't keep Inacio from absolutely blitzing the Golden Eagles.
On special teams, it was another ho-hum day from the Buckeyes, on both sides of the ball. Once more, Ohio State committed enough penalties to give Marquette 5 Man Up opportunities.
Luckily, the Man Down unit only allowed Marquette to score once. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes had two Man Up opportunities in the 4th, but converted neither. If/when the Buckeyes lose a game, it'll be hard to imagine that special teams didn't play a large part in the defeat.
This remains an area of constant concern. And I am not sure it will get any better at this point.
Overall, this was still a great team win. The Buckeyes faced some adversity from the weather, and overcame a slow start to wreak vengeance upon the Golden Eagles.
They've got all the momentum in the world as they roll into Hempstead, NY next week to take on Hofstra in what should be a very tight affair.
5-0 is still a great place to be!
Onto next week.