With a rifled goal from Colby Smith, Ohio State beat Notre Dame in overtime by an 11-10 score that shed 16 straight years of frustration.
By defeating the Fighting Irish in South Bend, Ohio State got a marquee win, displayed incredible toughness, AND set themselves up nicely for a berth in the tourney come May. Not bad after struggling mightily in the 1st half to do much of anything.
Offensively, the two teams were very, very similar. Ohio State shot 1% better than Notre Dame on the day, with just two more shots on goal. Notre Dame outshot the Buckeyes in 3 of 4 quarters, and tied them in overtime at 1 each.
The difference was the 2nd half. After the break, Ohio State went wild, outshooting the Irish 16-6 in the third quarter and outscoring them 4-1 in the 3rd, and 4-2 in the 4th. After being held to just 2 goals in the 1st half, the 2nd half was an absolute explosion of scoring for the Buckeye offense.
Additionally, Ohio State showed who it will be relying upon to make noise moving forward. Tre Leclaire, Jack Jasinski, and Jackson Reid paced the Buckeyes offensively today.
Oddly, Jack Myers failed to register a single point after leading OSU in total scoring coming into today. After feasting on inferior competition, we will have to see how Myers responds to the meat of the schedule.
And of course, Colby Smith deserves accolades for delivering the first Buckeye victory over the Fighting Irish in 17 tries with his dagger in OT. If the Buckeyes can do enpugh to win without Myers tallying a point, the B1G should be afraid.
Defensively, both teams did pretty well. No team shot better than 28%, shots on goal were relatively low %-wise, and both teams had a period where they clamped down on the opposing offense.
Fortunately for the Buckeyes, the defense managed to square itself away for an entire half after giving up 6 goals in the 1st half. Honestly, given how bad the offense played, there's plenty of praise for the defense after limiting Notre Dame to only 6 goals.
Special mention has to be made of Joey Salisbury, who came out of left field to nail down a starting spot, and he hasn't looked back. Even after waiting for years for this opportunity, Salisbury was ready.
In goal, Josh Kirson had a pretty strong day. He saved half the shots that made it on net, especially impressive after Ohio State flailed through 30 minutes of play on offense.
Kirson was a question mark coming into the season, and while he may not be an All-American, he certainly has defied expectations. If Kirson can keep it up, this Buckeye team will continue to be very, very dangerous.
At the faceoff X, Justin Inacio barely lost his matchup against his Notre Dame counterpart, going 12 of 25. This has happened a couple of times this season, where Inacio has struggled with an opponent for no apparent reason.
Hopefully Justin can figure it out, and get back to the late season form of 2018. If he's not winning faceoffs., the Buckeyes struggle mightily.
Finally, on special teams, my words proved prophetic once more. The Buckeyes committed 5 penalties, giving Notre Dame ample opportunity to score goals. And the Fighting Irish turned those opportunities into two tallies they might not otherwise have had.
If and when the Buckeyes lose this year, it will be because their trouble with penalties pushed them over the edge. I am at a loss on what to say, as the defense is so good in so many areas, but is just bad when Man Down.
Worse, Ohio State converted neither of their own Man Up opportunities. Perhaps they just aren't a priority to this staff, or it's one of those things. But it certainly remains a problem.
Despite the struggles on offense and special teams, this was a fantastic win for the Buckeyes. Even in the 2017 Final Four year, the Irish got the better of Ohio State. With this monkey off the team's back, they'll be brimming with confidence as Rutgers comes to town for the B1G opener next week.