I don't know how much of an indicator it is for the rest of the season, but Ohio State started off the year in fine fashion with a comfortable 15-7 victory over the Air Force Academy. There's not much more you could have asked for from the team, as they dominated nearly every phase. If this form continues, look out come late April.
It all started at the faceoff. Ohio State was DOMINANT against an Air Force team that, to be fair, was going to struggle at the dot. With that said, I don't think anyone expected Drew Blanchard to go 22-26 on the day. Winning 85% of your faceoffs will certainly turn some heads. It's even more intriguing considering how much Matt Fritz played in the fall.
On offense, the super seniors shined. Jack Myers had 4 goals, 5 assists, and Scott White tallied 4 goals as well. Fellow super senior Kyle Borda added a hat trick, giving the old men 11 of the 15 goals scored on the day. Ed Shean scored twice, with goals from Jason Knox and Connor Mitchell rounding out the day.
The biggest story on offense has to be the injury to Ari Allen. Allen didn't play at all today, near as I can tell, and that's a huge piece of the offense that didn't take part in a dismantling of Air Force. Kyle Lewis was quiet, and Richie LaCalandra missed all 5 of his shots, though the pair did add 3 assists combined. If all the pieces get humming, this is going to be a dangerous, dangerous team.
Defensively, the Buckeyes did everything they needed to do in order to stifle an opponent. Air Force managed just 26 shots, scored only 7 goals, and their best player managed to tally just once. Only one Falcon was able to score two goals on the day. Ohio State almost had as many caused turnovers (6) as they did goals allowed (7). We'll take that all day long.
The biggest story, though, has to be Ohio State's perfect clearing day. Last year was so frustrating because Ohio State couldn't get the ball out of their own end after getting a stop. Today, they went 15-15 on clears. That's a big change that hopefully continues all season!
Skylar Wahlund was solid in goal, saving 8 and giving up 7. His save percentage was above 50%, and the defense was stout in front of him. Not much else to say. Just a routine day between the pipes.
The only subpar performance was the Man Up, which only scored once in three tries. That's well below last year's average, and is something worth watching. Otherwise, there's little criticism to level at all. Just a really, really good performance all around. Buckeyes have one more tuneup game against Cleveland State, then the meat of the schedule hits. Absolutely no room for error beginning in two weeks.
An excellent win, lots to work on, plenty to be excited about.