COLUMBUS, Ohio — Matt Beaudoin had two goals and an assist and Dave Caruso weathered an early storm to backstop the No. 10 Buckeyes to a 3-1 win over the visiting Ferris State Bulldogs.
With the win, Ohio State (13-5-2, 10-2-1 CCHA) is now 8-0-0 at home and unbeaten in 13 games at the Schottenstein Center. The loss stops FSU’s unbeaten streak at five.
“We were sluggish tonight,” said OSU head coach John Markell. “I thought Dave Caruso came up big … and gave us an opportunity to win. I thought our D played pretty good. Our forwards definitely didn’t have the hop. We certainly have some guys that are sick.
“But we had enough guys playing. Some guys who hadn’t been coming through in the first half of the season came through and that’s good. You need that.”
The guys that came through included Beaudoin and Andrew Schembri, who was instrumental on Kenny Bernard’s game-winning goal in the second as well as Beaudoin’s insurance goal in the third. But it was Caruso who held the Bulldogs at bay for the first 17 minutes of the game, when FSU was doubling OSU’s shot totals and the bulk of the game was being played in front of the Buckeye cage.
“I don’t think we played our best period, and that’s what I’m there for,” said Caruso. “When they need the saves, I’m supposed to make the saves. That’s my job. They blocked a lot of shots at the end.”
Although only Mark Bomersback found the net for the Bulldogs, FSU head coach Bob Daniels said he can’t fault his team’s effort in the loss.
“I thought we came out with some pretty good jump. We didn’t capitalize on our chances early in the first and I was concerned about that, obviously. I thought we played better than to be down 1-0.”
The game was all Bulldogs until Beaudoin’s first goal of the night, at 17:27 of the first on the Buckeye power play. After taking a pass from Sean Collins, OSU’s power-play quarterback, Rod Pelley, tried to set up from his usual position at the right point, but when a Bulldog defender took away Pelley’s shooting lane, the forward repositioned at the top of the slot. Without an opening, Pelley dished to Beaudoin, camped left of the net. Beaudoin’s seventh goal of the season beat FSU goaltender Mike Brown long.
“It was good for us to score that power-play goal,” said Caruso. “If it was 0-0, I think we still would have pulled it off, but it’s definitely nice when you don’t play your best period to be up 1-0. They were running around pretty good, creating some chances.”
At 4:25 in the second, with the Buckeyes buzzing the Bulldog net, Beaudoin passed across the slot from the left circle to Bernard right, and with Brown drawn left to defend against Beaudoin, Bernard had just enough time to hit an essentially empty net for his first goal of the season. The second period ended 2-0.
Pressuring the Buckeyes early in the third, the Bulldogs cut OSU’s lead in half at 4:03 when Bomersback buried Adam Miller’s shuffle pass from close to the crease to make it 2-1, but Beaudoin would respond just five minutes later, backhanding it in from the left circle to bring the final score to 3-1.
The Bulldog net was empty for more than a minute at the end of the game, creating quality chances, but the Buckeye defense blocked shots and stymied the big FSU guns of Matt York, Derek Nesbitt, and Jeff Legue.
“I thought we carried the play in the first, they carried it in the second, pretty even in the third,” said Daniels. “I guess my impression is overall that the game was a pretty even game. They did a better job of finishing off their opportunities than we did.”
Caruso finished the night with 29 saves as the Bulldogs outshot the Buckeyes 30-29. Brown had 26 saves in the loss. OSU was 1-for-4 on the power play, FSU 0-for-6.
Markell said that penalties were one of the areas that the Buckeyes would have to address before Saturday’s rematch, but that intensity was another concern.
“It would have been nice to have everybody rolling tonight, but we didn’t. There were parts of the game where we did really well — obviously the penalty kill did very well — but we certainly have to raise our energy level. Ferris State is a good hockey club. They’re every bit as good as what they were playing before they came in here.”
The Buckeyes and Bulldogs (8-11-2, 3-8-2 CCHA) meet Saturday at 7:35 p.m. in the Schott for their final regular-season matchup of 2004-05. Including Friday’s contest, OSU is 3-0-0 against FSU in the season series.