COLUMBUS, Ohio — In the end, all it took was one goal. Ten seemed like an embarrassment of riches.
Nick Ganga notched the game-winner, R.J. Umberger and Eric Skaug had two apiece, and five other Buckeyes found the back of the net as Ohio State buried Findlay 10-0 in the first-ever meeting between the two Ohio teams.
Sophomore netminder Peter Wishloff registered his first collegiate win with 18 saves. Rookie Kelly Holowaty saved three shots in the final six minutes of the contest in relief of Wishloff.
“I congratulate our guys. They came to play tonight . We’ve been working on them for four days,” said Ohio State coach John Markell. “I think we’ve got some guys who like to score goals and who like to get points, and I’m never going to fault them for that.”
“That hurt,” said Findlay coach Craig Barnett.
When asked what the Oilers got out of the game, Barnett said, “a good butt-kicking,” but added that it was in some ways “a good experience” for the Findlay team.
“We know we’re a better team than we showed. A lot of factors came into it. It’s a very impressive building. A lot of our guys were kind of awestruck. We’re disappointed, certainly.”
The Oilers were down by two at the end of the first, on Ganga’s power-play goal at 9:23 and Jean-Francois Dufour’s tally with less than two minutes to go in the stanza.
“We thought that we got that out of the way and we could bounce back,” said Barnett, “but we just shot ourselves in the foot. With a team like Ohio State, those power-play opportunities in the second just killed us. We didn’t do anything to help our cause.”
The Oilers took five penalties in the second period, and the Buckeyes responded with a power-play goal by Dave Steckel, two four-on-four goals — one by Umberger and defenseman Jason Crain’s first of the year — and another even-strength goal by Skaug, his first as a Buckeye.
Ohio State led 6-0 after two. In the third period, Andre Signoretti made it 6-0, Skaug 7-0, Chris Olsgard’s first goal in an OSU sweater made it 9-0, and Umberger capped the night late in the third with his sixth tally of the season.
Ironically, Markell wasn’t happy with the Buckeye power play, in spite of its two goals in eight attempts.
“I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to work on it,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to run up the score; I just didn’t like the way it was clicking, and the movement of it. We’re going to break that tape down and try to get the guys working toward a nice smooth power play.”
Wishloff, recovering from a broken foot and broken hand, knew a few weeks back that this would be his return date. “It felt good to get back after a long rest,” he said. “It was a good time to get back on the ice, to get some shots, and see how it felt and everything.
“It was a good first period. That got me into the game. They started off a little slow, but after we scored they came back and got some quality shots. After that, it was a slow second period, but I stayed in the game by talking to the guys. They did a really good job tonight helping out in our own end, talking with me behind the net.”
Holowaty, who’s been backing up starter Mike Betz, had no idea he’d be seeing his first game action for the Buckeyes. “It was definitely a surprise. A good surprise,” he said.
“I felt really good out there. Peter and the rest of the team set the tone, and it was a nice situation to be in. When I got out there, I thought I’d be a little nervous, but not at all.
Pete played really well. He was really consistent and played the puck well. It was his game, and I really appreciated getting in there.”
On the other end of ice, Findlay goaltender Kevin Fines made some solid stops in the effort, saving 40 of the 50 shots he faced. Josh Baier didn’t see a shot on goal in the last 5:28 in net for the Oilers.
Markell had nothing but praise for the fledgling Oilers. “I think the coaches feel a little bit bad that they didn’t give us a game, but they did,” he said. “They played hard. They weren’t dirty. You’ve got to respect that, even though they were getting beaten. They’ve got something to build on.”
The Oilers, now 5-2-1 (4-1-1 CHA), head north of the border for games against the University of Toronto on Dec. 1, and the Royal Military Academy on Dec. 3.
As for the Buckeyes, “We’ll enjoy it for another 24 hours, then we’ll get back to practice,” Markell said. Ohio State (8-4-0, 5-3-0 CCHA) travels to Big Rapids for a two-game series against the Ferris State Bulldogs Dec. 1-2.