COLUMBUS, Ohio — With goals from Sean Collins and Mathieu Beaudoin, Ohio State edged visiting Union 2-1 at Value City Arena.
“Was that our best effort? No,” said OSU head coach John Markell. “Do I think Union came in and played a good road game? They did. They outshot their opponent, they won the first period. In the second period we got it going but penalties kept us off balance.
“It certainly showed what we went through as a team. We’ll take the 2-1 win the Saturday after exams. We’re going to go back to building off the good stuff that we did.”
Sophomore Ian Keserich had 30 saves in his first win of the season for the Buckeyes, filling in for injured senior Dave Caruso, who had knee surgery earlier in the week. Caruso is expected back for the Ohio Hockey Classic Dec. 29-30.
“I thought Keserich came in and did a good job under the circumstances,” said Markell, “but we are a team that can improve and hopefully we can find our legs here tomorrow.”
The Dutchmen became the first team to outshoot the Buckeyes this season; OSU was averaging more than 36 shots per contest coming into the weekend.
But in spite of out-gunning the Bucks in the opening stanza, the Dutchmen fell behind 1-0 after one on Sean Collins’ fourth goal of the season at 18:06. The goal was OSU’s third shot in the period.
“To only give up three shots and one goal, that hurt,” said Union head coach Nate Leaman. “I thought we had some outstanding opportunities. To come through with nothing to show for it kind of hurt.”
Both Buckeye goals resulted from Dutchmen turnovers in their own end. On Collins’ goal, Union lost control of the puck in the right corner, and the play eventually came to Buckeye Dave Barton behind the net.
Barton shot it out front and hit the skate of Dutchman Lane Caffaro; the puck squirted to Collins, whose one-timer from the top of the slot ripped by Union goaltender Kris Mayotte on the right.
Mathieu Beaudoin made it 2-0 for OSU at 15:49 in the second. It was again Barton with the first assist, this time a home-run pass from the right Buckeye circle to Beaudoin who was just about to cross the blueline into Union territory. Beaudoin skated in and shook off a Union defender, netting his sixth of the season, five-hole, as he sprawled to the ice in the right circle.
Late in the third period, Dutchman head coach Nate Leaman called a timeout to give his players a breather and regroup for a last push.
“I thought our guys were a little gassed. We were talking about getting Mayo out of the net and changing up, getting our D a little bit more aggressive. We knew we had to get the first one.”
The call paid off with Scott Seney’s power-play goal at 18:50, scored six-on-four with Mayotte pulled for the two-man advantage. Seney picked up his own rebound on a play that began with Josh Coyle’s shot from the point.
The Dutchmen had another power play in the closing minute of the game as OSU was called for too many men, and again pulled Mayotte for a two-man advantage, but were unable to capitalize a second time.
“I think that the fact that they scored the first goal and we carried the play in the first periodkind of hurt our confidence a little bit,” said Leaman, “but I thought that the last three minutes were really going to help our confidence for tomorrow.
“But you’ve got to give that goaltender a credit. I thought he made a lot of things look like they just hit him in the middle of the chest and he made them look easy. They’re a team that does a good job of limiting your second opportunities.”
Markell thought his team was sluggish. “I don’t know if we had the legs we normally have. Maybe that’s Union. They’re a good skating team. They’ve got good forwards. I thought they had a good overall game. They moved the puck well on the power play, they’re aggressive on the penalty kill. They came with a great effort.”
Mayotte finished the night with 20 saves as the Dutchmen outshot the Buckeyes 31-22. Union was 1-for-7 on the power play, OSU 0-for-4.
Union (9-6-2, 3-3-0 ECACHL) and Ohio State (8-6-2, 6-4-1 CCHA) will play again Sunday at 3:05 p.m. in Value City Arena.