COLUMBUS, Ohio — Kenny Bernard and Mathieu Beaudoin connected for two third-period goals and goaltender Dave Caruso made 27 saves in his seventh career shutout as Ohio State downed visiting Lake Superior State, 3-0.
“I think Ohio State’s a good team. They’re starting to come around,” said LSSU head coach Jim Roque. “They’re good, they’re strong, they don’t give you a lot of good chance to score, they come at you all game.”
The Buckeyes outshot the Lakers, 41-27. LSSU goaltender Jeff Jakaitis made 38 stops in the effort.
“He gives us a chance to win every night, and that’s all we ask of him,” said Roque. “When you don’t score, it’s tough to win a game.”
It was a relatively quiet and quick game, with only five penalties assessed for the duration, but whether referee Mark Wilkins should have used his whistle more often was a matter of perspective. Roque thought that the game was more active than the number of calls indicated, while OSU head coach John Markell thought the contest was clean.
“I thought there were a lot of missed calls out there,” said Roque. “I thought there was a checking from behind in the first period… that should have been called a five-minute major that we’ve had called early in the year. I thought there was a lot of hooking, a lot of holding, both ways.
“We tried to change our style to a more aggressive skating, and I thought tonight we were getting hooked a lot and grabbed… sticks were on our shoulder pads. I could put a dozen clips of that together tonight, no problem.
“You call it the first month and as the season goes on, you leave it go. I thought both teams were doing it after a while. I don’t like it. I just want our guys to skate and keep their sticks on the ice, but they’re kids. When it’s being done to you and it’s not called, you’re going to turn around and do the same thing other way. It’s just natural.”
Said Markell, “It was a close-checking game. Both teams played 60 minutes. They play a certain style, and I guarantee you they’re going to play the same way tomorrow, with the same effort, same body position, same systems, and they’re consistent with it and they bring it every game.”
Through the first two period, only two penalties were called both on the Lakers and the teams played over 17 minutes before someone went to the box. OSU went 0-for-3 on the power play to LSSU’s 0-for-2.
The game was scoreless until 15:56 in the second, when John Dingle flew in alone on Jakaitis, crossed from right to left in the crease and fired backhand over the butterflied LSSU goalie’s right leg.
Bernard made it 2-0 on an odd-man rush at 11:22 in the third, taking Beaudoin’s feed across the slot and hitting Jakaitis high on the right arm for his first goal of the season. At 17:15 on another two-on-one, it was Bernard on the right wing passing left to the crashing Beaudoin to give the Buckeyes a 3-0 lead.
While Beaudoin had a hand in all three OSU goals, Bernard created several chances for himself in the game, with perhaps the best coming early in the second when the junior streaked in alone and fired left of the net.
“If anybody deserved a goal tonight, it was him,” said Markell. “He had a breakaway, and got hauled down on another one or checked from behind. Their line was successful tonight.” Andrew Schembri, who also assisted on the third goal, was the left winger with Beaudoin at center and Bernard right.
This was the second consecutive win for the struggling Buckeyes, the preseason CCHA favorites who find themselves in the unusual position of having to climb out of the bottom of the league standings. With the win, OSU (4-5-1, 3-4-1 CCHA) pulls to within three points of the Lakers (4-4-3, 3-4-2).
The teams will meet again Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. in Value City Arena, and Markell said that his team must respect the Lakers, just as their opponent will do when the puck drops.
“We have to score by committee, obviously, and maybe it will be a different line tomorrow night. Maybe it will be a one-goal game. I don’t know.”
Roque said that without seeing any video, he’s hesitant to assess what his team might need to do to adjust for Saturday’s rematch.
“I don’t talk to my team after the games. It’s hard to see from the benches. I don’t know how good we played. If you want to talk to me tomorrow night before the game, I can tell you if we did play good or not [tonight]. I guess I’ll watch the film and I’ll tell you later.”