Ohio State Downs Denver, Advances to Frozen Four

By Aubrey Nelson on March 25, 2018 at 9:58 pm
Ohio State is Frozen Four bound!

Twitter/@OhioState_MHKY

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Another 20-year streak bites the dust. On Sunday, No. 1 seed Ohio State defeated reigning NCAA champ and No. 2 seed Denver in the NCAA tournament's Midwest regional final. With the win, the men's hockey Buckeyes are back in the Frozen Four for the first time since 1998. 

Scoring by Period 1 2 3 Final
No. 2 Denver 0 0 1 1
No. 1 Ohio State 0 2 3 5

The regional final bore a great deal of resemblance to the Bucks' regional semifinal victory over Princeton. Once OSU cracked the seal on the scoring, the outcome was never seriously in doubt. The Buckeyes played well as a whole unit, but got especially notable individual efforts from Dakota Joshua and their depth forwards. Sean Romeo was cool, calm, and virtually untouchable in net.

Buckeye Goal Scorers (Assists) Pd Time
Dakota Joshua (Brendon Kearney. Tommy Parran) 2 3:47
Kevin Miller (Christian Lampasso, Matt Joyaux) 2 15:31
Matt Joyaux (Tanner Laczynski) 3 9:27
Kevin Miller (Christian Lampasso, Ronnie Hein) 3 11:51
EN - Mason Jobst (unassisted) 3 14:16

The first period passed in largely quiet fashion. The teams jockeyed for possession with few whistles and a good flow. But Grade A scoring chances were few and far between. The top play of the frame came on the Buckeye penalty kill when Romeo reached back himself to pluck a puck off the goal line.

The second period was a much louder affair. Ohio State opened two-goal goal lead thanks, once again, to Joshua and Kevin Miller. Joshua lit the lamp first. He fought for position in front of the net, spun around, and backhanded the game’s opening goal past Denver goalie Tanner Jaillet.

Miller followed up with a second Buckeye goal. It took more than 20 seconds this time, but the score was very similar to the one he tallied yesterday. Christian Lampasso dug the puck out along the end wall. He centered it to a crashing Miller, who shoveled a backhand in for a 2-0 OSU lead.

The Buckeyes continued to roll in the third period. Tanner Laczynski stretched the team's lead to three goals by setting up a Matt Joyaux score. The Philadelphia Flyers' prospect picked the pocket of a Pioneer in the defensive zone, carried the puck up ice, and drove around the Denver defenders. Joyaux jumped into the play and slipped by the Pioneer D too. Laczynski teed him up perfectly for a 3-0 edge. 

The Pioneers disturbed Romeo's zen garden briefly, cutting the score to 3-1, but Ohio State quickly quashed any hope of a comeback. The Bucks' lunch pail crew - Lampasso, K. Miller, and Ronnie Hein - crushed Denver's dreams with a fourth OSU tally. Lampasso set up a crashing Miller who is apparently invisible now. This is the third goal he scored this way this weekend. 

With seven minutes to play and facing a three-goal deficit, the Pioneers rolled the dice and pulled Jaillet for the extra attacker. The gamble turned up snake eyes for Denver. Mason Jobst bulls-eyed the empty net from just inside the Buckeye blue line to cement a 5-1 Ohio State victory. 

The Buckeyes advance to just the second Frozen Four in program history. The Scarlet and Gray will face the No. 3 seed out of the West regional, Minnesota-Duluth. The Bulldogs knocked off the West's No. 2 seed, Minnesota State in the first round before defeating No. 4 Air Force, 2-1, in the regional final. OSU and UMD met in the opening round of last year's tournament with Duluth prevailing, 3-2, in overtime. 

The NCHC's Bulldogs are the only non-Big Ten team to make this year's Frozen Four. In addition to Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan advance with victories over Providence and Boston University, respectively. Three out of the final four teams in the tourney. It's almost like the B1G is a college hockey superconference or something.  

The Frozen Four gets underway with semifinal matchups on Thursday, April 5. Minnesota-Duluth vs. Ohio State kicks off the action at 6pm ET, followed by Michigan vs. Notre Dame. Both games air live on ESPN2. The championship game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 7. ESPN has that one covered. 

  • Denver outshot Ohio State 31-24 in the regional final, including a 16-7 margin in the third period.
  • Dakota Joshua, Kevin Miller, and Brendon Kearney led the Buckeyes with three shots each. 
  • OSU's penalty kill was a flawless 2-for-2 in the contest. The Bucks did not have a power play chance.
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