Hockey Bucks Seek First Win Against Lakers

By Aubrey Nelson on October 30, 2015 at 3:45 pm
All dressed up and ready to go
Jeremy Birmingham

Your hockey Bucks were swept on the road last week by No. 3 Providence. The Friars edged Ohio State by a 2-1 margin in Friday’s contest. By all accounts Matt Tomkins had a great outing in net and sophomore Matt Weis notched his first goal of the 2015-16 season. 

game info friday saturday
Opening Faceoff 7:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
Radio 1460 AM 1460 AM
Television None None
Online Buckeye Vision ($) Buckeye Vision ($)

Saturday’s game was another story. OSU fell behind early. Tomkins struggled. The Bucks could not stay out of the penalty box. Although they battled hard to get back into the game, they fell by a final of 6-4. You can see highlights from those games here and here.

So Ohio State is 0-6-0. It is the worst start in program history. The results are not a huge surprise. They aren’t even that big a deal. 

The odds of Ohio State turning the difficult schedule to its advantage and building a case for an at-large NCAA bid were long odds indeed. We knew this. We also knew the best case scenario was probably that the Bucks hone their game against the nation’s finer teams. Then, maximum sharpness achieved, do some damage within the Big Ten.

All of that is still possible. In fact, I’d say it’s still likely. The Buckeyes do not look as bad on the ice as they do on paper.

Hang in there OSU fans. This non-conference gauntlet is rough. However, as long as the Bucks continue to make progress, it will pay off in spades once conference play begins. 

team stats mercyhurst ohio state
Overall Record 5-3-0 0-6-0
National Polls Receiving Votes N/A
Avg. Goals Scored 4.00 1.83
Avg. Goals Allowed 3.50 3.67
Points Leader Kyle Cook (1-8--9) Dave Gust (1-5--6)
Top Goaltender Brandon Wildung (3.17/.914) Matt Tomkins (3.30/.902)

In case you haven’t noticed, the Big Ten is not establishing itself as a 2015-16 powerhouse. Only Michigan and Minnesota appear in the national polls. The Gophers have been losing favor with pollsters since opening night, sliding from No. 9 to No. 20.

No Big Ten team has defeated a ranked opponent this season. The Wolverines skated to a 5-5 tie against No. 18 Union. In spite of playing nearly the entire overtime period with a man advantage, Penn State only managed a 2-2 tie with No. 16 St. Lawrence last night. That’s as close as the conference has come to a quality win.

Michigan State, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are a combined 0-6-0 against ranked teams. The B1G trio has been outscored in those games by a combined 23-4. (The Buckeyes, themselves 0-6-0, have been outscored 22-11.) 

This is not to suggest Ohio State is about to blow up the Big Ten. However the difficulty level does look like it will settle to a more manageable level within the conference. As long as the Bucks keep making progress they will at least be a tough out in the B1G.

OSU looks to further refine its game this week as the team hosts Mercyhurst. The Lakers’ situation is similar to the Buckeyes’. They lost a ton of key players to graduation, five of their top six scorers, three regular defensemen, and goaltender Jimmy Sarjeant. 

Mercyhurst is certainly no cupcake team. The Lakers are perennial contenders in Atlantic Hockey. Though unranked, they are currently receiving votes in the national polls and look to make some noise in what is supposed to be a rebuilding year. Still, this series looks more winnable than any yet on OSU’s calendar.

The Bucks’ blue line needs to be tight this week. Mercyhurst is very good at exploiting mistakes and getting behind the defense. Sharp goaltending is a must. On the bright side for Ohio State, the Lakers are not that great in their own end. This series could provide an excellent opportunity to jump start the Buckeyes’ groggy scoring.

I’d like to predict a Buckeye sweep. A split is more sensible. Either way, that goose egg is history this week.

News and Notes
  • Buckeye sophomore Nicholas Jones has left the team and returned to the BCHL. Jones skated in 29 games during his career with Ohio State with one goal and five assists to his credit. 
  • Upon further review of the major contact-to-the-head penalty he committed against Army last week, Atlantic Hockey has suspended Mercyhurst forward Nathan Ferriero for tonight's game.
  • Take note of this week's game promotions (canned goods drive, postgame meet and greet, etc.) here.
rk big ten non-conference results w l t this week
10 Michigan  3 0 1 vs Robert Morris
  Michigan State 2 3 1 Bye
20 Minnesota 2 3 0 Bye
  Ohio State 0 6 0 vs Mercyhurst
RV Penn State 4 1 0 vs No. 16 St. Lawrence
  Wisconsin 0 3 3 vs Arizona State


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