COLUMBUS, Ohio — Dan Knapp earned his second career hat trick in Ohio State’s 7-1 win over Sacred heart, and Buckeye fans have Knapp’s nine-year-old cousin to thank for it.
“My little cousin called me and told me the other day, ‘You’ve got to score. Shave your head again,’” said Knapp. “That’s how I got the idea. As soon as I scored the third one I thought, ‘That little snot knew what he was talking about.’”
In February, Knapp netted his first hat trick in Big Rapids after shaving his head. “I went up north and in the first game I couldn’t score, and the second game I got a hat trick. I hadn’t been finishing my scoring opportunities, so I took [Sean] Collins’ razor and clippers … and scored some goals.”
Dan Fritsche assisted on all three of Knapp’s goals, all of which came on the power play as the Buckeyes converted five of their six chances. Fritsche had another helper on linemate John Dingle’s third goal of the season, bringing Fritsche’s team-leading point total to 13 — all assists.
“He’s getting frustrated because he hasn’t scored,” said captain JB Bittner, who had two goals of his own tonight. “I told him, ‘Give me all of your assists and I’ll give you a bunch of my goals.’
“He’s unbelievable when he has the puck on his stick. It surprises me because he’s so small and not very strong, but can’t get knocked off the puck very easily.”
From just to the right of the cage, Knapp shuffled in Domenic Maiani’s feed for his first goal of the game at 9:19 in the first, and the Buckeyes led 1-0 after one.
Dingle and Knapp added goals in the second, but after Peter Ferraro scored Sacred Heart’s only goal early in the third on the power play to make it 3-1, the Buckeyes exploded for four more, including a rare even-strength goal by Rod Pelley, who leads the CCHA in power-play goals with six.
“We got some good power-play goals,” said OSU head coach John Markell. “[Goaltender Dave] Caruso, I thought he had trouble in the first period but he settled down in the second and third.”
Caruso made 23 saves in his sixth win of the season. Jason Smith had 29 saves for Sacred Heart, as the Buckeyes outshot the Pioneers 36-24. SHU was 1-for-9 on the power play.
“I thought they … played with a lot of energy,” said Markell of the Pioneers. “They were much more physical than they were last night and they were much more physical than we were tonight in the first period. You just can’t take a night off. The other team — it doesn’t matter who they are — if they’re playing with heart, they can beat you. They took it to us in the first period.”
The Pioneers (3-5-0, 3-0-0 AH) return to league play next week against Canisius after dropping four non-conference games in a row, the two this weekend and losses against Colgate and Cornell last week.