COLUMBUS, Ohio — Dave Caruso recorded his fifth career shutout and Bryce Anderson had the game-winner as Ohio State beat Northern Michigan, 2-0, in the Wildcats’ first trip to Columbus since 2001.
“The guys in front of me played extremely well,” said Caruso. “I don’t want to say it was my cleanest game ever, but — they helped me out.”
“We wanted to set the tone that we were here to play,” said OSU head coach John Markell, whose Buckeyes outshot the Wildcats 19-4 in the first period. “We wanted to welcome them back to our building after a long absence.”
Caruso had 24 saves in his first shutout of the season, but Tuomas Tarkki was even more impressive in the loss, stopping 27 shots — including all 19 in the lopsided opening stanza.
“Tuomas kept us in the game,” said NMU head coach Walt Kyle. “We were one-nothing, and we were right there.”
Anderson put the Buckeyes up 1-0 on the power play at 1:45 in the second, taking JB Bittner’s pass from the side of the net and stuffing in the puck between Tarkki and the right post.
Domenic Maiani had OSU’s second goal at 9:47 in the third, taking a pass from Sean Collins at the top of the slot and firing it upstairs and clean. The freshman later missed an empty net in the closing seconds, shooting wide after Bittner generously fed him across the crease.
“Maybe if it was a one-nothing game, I would have shot it, but I was trying to help him out,” said Bittner.
NMU’s Dirk Southern had a goal waved off in the second period; referee Stephen McInchak ruled that a Wildcat player was in the crease when Southern scored. “I haven’t seen it, so I can’t comment,” said Kyle. “If you’re going to call a disallowed goal, you have to one-hundred percent see it and know what you’re calling, so I’m sure he made the right call.”
The Buckeyes went 1-for-7 on the power play, the Wildcats 0-for-7, and each team had 10 penalties for 20 minutes, but NMU bore the brunt of the calls in the early going, with five minors in the first to OSU’s one.
“At one point the power plays were nine-two — the most penalized team in the country and they’re ahead [in power plays] nine-two,” said Kyle. “They had the puck the whole night.”
With the win, the Buckeyes (8-3-0, 6-1-0 CCHA) pull ahead of the idle Wolverines for the lead in the CCHA standings.
The loss was the first in league play for Northern Michigan (5-2-2, 3-1-1 CCHA).
The Wildcats and Buckeyes face off again Sunday at 2:05 p.m. in Value City Arena, their final regular-season meeting for 2004-05.