That’s more like it. With the championship-clinching pressure off, Ohio State returned to its old, dominant ways. The Bucks rolled past the visiting Spartans, 5-1.
|Scoring by Period||1||2||3||Final|
|No. 7 Ohio State||1||2||2||5|
Five different players scored in the win. All four of the Buckeyes' lines generated offensive opportunities. OSU’s defense rebounded from some sketchy outings with a complete shutdown of the nation’s top scoring line.
Freshman Eugene Fadyeyev kicked things off at the 7:18 mark. Miguel Fidler forced a turnover which he fed to the Ukraine native. Fadyeyev promptly put his first career goal in the back of the net.
The Bucks carried a 1-0 lead into the second period. An odd man rush for Tanner Laczynski and Freddy Gerard nearly made it 2-0 right off the bat. Instead the puck went back up the ice. A failed clear and a broken play ended in an MSU goal and a 1-1 game. Tommy Apap picked up the score, sweeping a loose puck past a screened Tommy Nappier.
But Laczynski and Gerard would not be thwarted for long. Later, as the pair battled behind the net, Laczynski spied Matt Miller easing down the wall. The Philadelphia Flyers prospect teed Miller up for a lead-restoring blast.
Again, the Bucks got back on the attack immediately. This time Fidler, whacking away in the paint, narrowly missed the net. Carson Meyer and John Wiitala generated another chance.
Late in the second period this dogged assault finally paid off. A series of nice passes originating from Sasha Larocque behind the OSU net resulted in a Gerard goal and a 3-1 lead. The Rocky River, Ohio native collected the puck from among the shattered remains of Jared Rosburg’s body and blew it by Drew DeRidder.
Ohio State kept rolling in the third period. Ronnie Hein hammered home his eleventh goal of the year. Over the last couple of game Hein has stepped into Dakota Joshua's shoes in a commendable way. He's been physical and ever-present in prime scoring areas. Which leads to plays like this.
Gerard assisted on the play. At the end of the day he led the Bucks in scoring with a goal and two assists, He was also OSU’s top shooter by a mile. He put six shots on net. The next closest Buckeye, Fidler, registered three.
John Wiitala capped the Scarlet and Gray scoring with a beauty. Miller banked the puck off the wall to Wiitala in the neutral zone. Watch as the senior wheels around the Spartan defenders and pots his eighth goal of the season.
While Ohio State’s offense was lighting up the scoreboard, the defense quietly shut down the nation’s most lethal scoring line. The Buckeyes held the trip of Taro Hirose (50 points), Patrick Khodorenko (36), and Mitch Lewandowski (33) to zero points, four total shots on goal, and a collective -9 rating. The penalty killers were also a perfect 2-for-2 against an MSU power play operating at more than a 30% success rate since the midseason break.
Aside from a 0-for-4 night on the power play, this was great bounce back game for the Buckeyes. It's the kind of outing they needed heading into their first round Big Ten tournament bye. Though still contending with injuries to key players the team was perilously close to firing on all cylinders once again.
OSU looks for a repeat performance when the Bucks and Spartans close out the regular season. The game begins tomorrow evening at 5pm ET. Ohio State will honor its outgoing seniors prior to the tilt and unveil its Big Ten championship banner after the game.
- Ohio State outshot Michigan State, 32-22.
- The line of Tanenr Laczynski, Freddy Gerard, and Ronnie Hein combined for two goals and five assists.
- It was a night for depth as the Bucks got goals from their second, third, and fourth lines.
- OSU went 0-for-4 on the power play. MSU was 0-for-2.