Ohio State men’s hockey entered its first-round NCAA Tournament game against Harvard as an underdog, but you wouldn’t have guessed that with how the Buckeyes played on Friday.
The Buckeyes were the third seed while Harvard was the second seed in the Bridgeport Regional, but Friday’s first-round game between Ohio State and the Crimson proved to be a lopsided affair in the Buckeyes’ favor as Ohio State rolled to an 8-1 victory over its higher-seeded adversary.
Ohio State scored the first eight goals of the game – seven of which came in the first periods – and would have had the largest shutout victory in NCAA Tournament history if it had not surrendered a power-play goal to Harvard’s John Farinacci with just 3:14 to play.
Cam Thiesing and Cole McWard got things started for the Buckeyes with a pair of first-period goals. Ohio State seized full control of the game in the second period as Gustaf Westlund, Thiesing, Mason Lohrei, Dunlap and McWard all scored to extend Ohio State’s advantage to 7-0. Patrick Guzzo scored the eighth goal for the Buckeyes just one minute and 10 seconds into the final period.
Jake Wise led the Buckeyes with four assists while Thiesing (two goals, one assist), Lohrei (one goal, two assists) and Westlund (one goal, two assists) each finished the game with three points apiece. Jakub Dobes was rock-solid between the pipes for the Buckeyes, surrending just the one goal late while making 21 saves. Ohio State finished the game with 40 shots on goal while Harvard had just 22.
Ohio State’s dominant performance came as part of an overall dominant day for the Big Ten, as all four teams in the conference scored at least eight goals in runaway wins. Minnesota defeated Canisius 9-2, Michigan defeat Colgate 11-1 and Penn State defeated Michigan Tech 8-0 in their own first-round games.
Ohio State now advances to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, where the Buckeyes will face No. 2 overall seed Quinnipiac, who beat Merrimack 5-0 in its first-round game Friday. Sunday’s quarterfinal will start at 4 p.m. at Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and will be televised on ESPN2.
The Buckeyes, who are in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019, would make their third-ever Frozen Four – they previously went in 1998 and 2018 – if they can beat Quinnipiac on Sunday.