COLUMBUS, Ohio — Andrew Signoretti notched the shorthanded game winner and rookie Mike Betz had 12 saves in Ohio State’s 5-1 exhibition win over Wilfrid Laurier on Friday.
In a game remarkable mostly for the play of Wilfrid Laurier goaltender Jeff Hladysh, Luke Pavlas, R.J. Umberger, Scott May and Pete Broccoli also scored for OSU. Sophomore goalie Peter Wishloff saved six of seven shots in the first half of the game as the Buckeyes outshot the Golden Hawks 52-19.
“I thought we moved the puck very well. I thought our kids stayed disciplined,” said OSU coach John Markell.
“I saw a lot of good things out there. I like the attitude of the bench. There wasn’t any point when we were desperate or anything like that. We just had to stay patient. Even though we had a lot of shots in the first period and no goals and down one, I think we knew eventually one would go in and maybe continue on.”
Wilfrid Laurier led 1-0 after one period on a fluky goal at 6:52, just their second shot of the game. The Golden Hawks’ Sam Simons had the puck tied up with a Buckeye defender between the circles; the puck squirted past the knotted players to Chris Hill, who shot it gently past sophomore goaltender Wishloff on the glove side.
The Buckeyes came back with two goals in the second, the first by Luke Pavlas on the power play at 12:14. Signoretti scored the game winner at 14:00.
On the first goal, Hladysh was just peppered repeatedly close in, fending off at least three consecutive blasts by Jaisen Freeman. A rebound of the last of those shots wound up on the stick of Umberger at the right of the net; Hladysh moved over to defend and Umberger passed to Pavlas, who easily found the open side of the net.
Signoretti intercepted the puck from a Golden Hawk defender as Wilfrid Laurier was trying to move the puck out of their zone during a power play. Signoretti’s cannon from the right point beat Hladysh clean on the opposite side.
Umberger beat Hladysh through the five-hole close in at 3:17 in the third to make it 3-1 for Ohio State. May and Broccoli added even-strength goals later in the period to round out the scoring.
Hladysh was impressive in net, robbing Nick Ganga, Pavlas, and Umberger repeatedly as the Buckeyes outshot the Golden Hawks 18-4 in the opening stanza. He was especially convincing on several Buckeye power plays, particularly in the latter half of the period.
“We got the same thing in Michigan last week,” said Wilfrid Laurier coach Tony Martindale, who was pleased to get a chance to gauge his rookie goaltenders in games against Michigan and Ohio State.
“There was a question mark there with two freshmen,” as Martindale said, because the Golden Hawks lost their first-string netminder of last season to a job with the Molson brewing company. “He’ll finish the degree at night.”
Each coach said the game provided an opportunity to measure what needs to be accomplished before his team’s regular seasons begins. “Speed, intensity — those are things we need to work on to be successful,” said Martindale. “We come down here because it’s a good opportunity to play some good hockey.”
“Obviously, we could have possibly used some more shots on our goaltending,” said Markell, “but I thought they both did OK. Mike looked a little more relaxed than maybe Peter did. That’s understandable. The guy starting the game is usually more nervous. It’s not that the goal was his fault.”
The Buckeyes were 1-for-12 on the power play, while holding Wilfred Laurier scoreless on its nine advantages.
“I thought obviously that there were a lot of specialty situations,” said Markell. “I thought they played a clean game; they’re just not used to the refereeing down here. As usual, they always come down and give you a good clean game.”
Martindale said that the officiating was consistent and that “there were situations where our sticks were above the waist and they called that,” he said. “Some of them were questionable. I asked the referee after the second period if we were that bad, and he said no.”
Markell said that one of the biggest things to adjust to in the first game of the season is the level of physical play. “The hitting is the biggest part of it,” he said. “You’re not used to getting hit that hard. The ‘excuse me’ hitting is all over with and it’s punishing checks some times.
“Some guys had some good games for their first games, and it was nice to see some guys score some goals. You would have possibly liked to see a better ratio of goals per shot, but I’ve got to commend that goaltender.
“It was a good, fun game and the guys are happy with it. Any time you play a hockey game and you win, it’s good. The only thing I told them is that it’s going to be a much harder game up in Northern Michigan next week. But let’s enjoy it while we can; they worked hard for it. We’ll move on from here.”