COLUMBUS, Ohio — Laker head coach Jim Roque had two goals for Lake Superior State’s trip to Columbus this weekend. In his own words, the second-year skipper wanted to “score a goal, and not spend a thousand dollars.”
The Lakers actually scored seven, all in Saturday’s contest, beating Ohio State 7-6 in overtime to earn a split for each team’s opening weekend of CCHA play.
Last season in mid-November when LSSU visited OSU, the Lakers were blanked twice by the Buckeyes, 3-0 and 4-0, and Roque’s post-game criticism of the officiating that cost him $1,000 in fines by the league.
LSSU’s scoreless streak against the Buckeyes had actually extended back to a 3-2 overtime loss in Sault Ste. Marie, Feb. 5, 2005, and included Friday night’s 1-0 OSU shutout. This was the Lakers’ first win over the Buckeyes since their 1-0 overtime victory at Value City Arena, Feb. 11, 2000.
“It was definitely intense,” said senior forward Dominic Osman, whose first goal of the season was the game winner for the Lakers at 2:45 in OT.
“Coming in here we knew it was going to be pretty tough, especially coming in not having any goals as a team the last three games playing [OSU]. There was just something in the atmosphere. We knew could play with them. We definitely had confidence from the goalie on down. It was amazing.”
Rookie goaltender Pat Inglis had the win in his first start, stopping 29 of OSU’s 35 shots in the back-and-forth game.
“I’m glad for Pat,” said Roque. “He’d like to have a couple goals back. But our guys, they like him, they fought hard for him, they never got mad at on the bench about the goaltending. They just battled hard for him and left him out to dry on a couple goals in the third.”
Nik Sellers did the honors for the Lakers, netting the first goal that eventually led to seven, tipping in Simon Gysbers’ shot from the right point at 2:26 in the first and earning each Laker his first collegiate point. Tony Schwab led LSSU in scoring with three assists as seven different Lakers accounted for the seven Laker goals. Four LSSU freshmen, including Sellers, registered their first collegiate goals in the contest.
Lost amidst the Lakers’ streak-breaking win was a milestone for Columbus senior forward Mathieu Beaudoin, who registered his first career hat trick in the Buckeye loss. All three goals were game-tying tallies, including two period-ending goals, one in the closing seconds of the second to make the score 4-4, and the final equalizer as the buzzer sounded in the third period, forcing overtime with 0.2 seconds left on the clock and a 6-6 score.
“Obviously, every time that you’re down when you tie the game up, you hope for a little bit of a boost and take the lead,” said Beaudoin. “We didn’t lead once, and to lose like that in overtime and to allow seven goals is unacceptable.”
After Sellers gave the Lakers their first lead over the Buckeyes since 2005, Buckeye Andrew Schembri scored at 11:40 with the second tipped goal of the night when he was in the right place to redirect Jason DeSantis’ blast from the right point. That briefly knotted the game at one apiece, but a flurry of goals scored within one minute toward the end of the gave the Lakers a 3-2 lead after one.
First, at 16:19, sophomore Laker Josh Sim converted a power play with Buckeye Johan Kroll in the box for hooking, scoring from the slot on a play that began with Derek A. Smith taking the puck from behind the Laker net, continued with Troy Schwab walking it into the Buckeye zone and passing to Sim, and ended with a 2-1 LSSU lead.
Just 19 seconds later, the Lakers registered a two-goal lead with Matt Martello’s first Division I goal. Martello tried to convert on a rebound from Steven Kaunisto’s shot from the point, then picked up his own rebound and tucked it in behind freshman OSU goaltender Joseph Palmer to make it 3-1.
But it took the Buckeyes all of 24 seconds to answer with Tommy Goebel’s second goal of the season, a shot from high in the slot at 17:12 that made it 3-2 after one.
The second period felt less like a horse race and more like a game, even though the Buckeyes bookended the stanza with goals in the first and last minutes of play. OSU’s Dominic Maiani scored 54 seconds into the second on the power play to tie it up, again, and it took the Lakers nearly 12 minutes to take yet another lead, when John Scrymgeour netted a highlight-reel goal from close in at 12:39, picking up Schwab’s rebound and lifting it up and over Palmer.
Beaudoin’s first goal of the night was shorthanded at 19:45 in the second, but again the tie didn’t last long. At 2:08 in the third, Dan Eves scored his first ever, giving Lake State the 5-4 lead.
Beaudoin tied it up again at 10:06 in the third on a long OSU power play, after Eves had received a major penalty for hitting from behind and a game misconduct, but that tie lasted three minutes. At 13:13, Nathan Perkovich gave the Lakers the go-ahead goal — again — on an LSSU power play.
That looked to be the end of it, until OSU pulled Palmer in favor of the extra skater with just over a minute left in the game, and Beaudoin tied it up the third time, with a goal so close to the buzzer that it had to be reviewed for time.
In spite of the back-and-forth play in a hostile environment, the Lakers never looked like a team willing to give up. Roque said that he was especially proud of the way the team persevered.
“Our guys really battled hard all night. I told [assistant coach] Tim [Christian] on the bench…at the end of the game before overtime I felt that we’d already won the game because Barnabas [Birkeland] never makes that mistake…exposing the back of the net [on the game-tying goal].
“I’m proud of how our guys played in overtime, because they didn’t let the goal get them down or depressed. They just went out and played. Obviously, I’ve got a pretty good group of guys.”
On the opposite bench, Ohio State head coach John Markell was clearly disappointed with the way in which is team lost the game after Friday’s 1-0 shutout.”
“I thought we were weak on our stick, lost a lot of one-on-one battles, fifty-fifty battles that could have turned our way, making the little plays that could have advanced the puck. That’s how you tell whether the guys are on or off, the way the pucks are jumping off their stick or whether they’re securing pucks and doing good things with them.
“I just thought that we got out-competed. That means hitting…making good plays. It’s a hard lesson. It is early in the year, but it’s a hard lesson.
“They’d better grow from it. We’re too mature a team to show immaturity, defending our home. There’s no excuses for it.”
The Lakers finished 2-for-7 on the power play, the Buckeyes 3-for-6. Palmer made 27 saves in the loss, as the Buckeyes outshot the Lakers 35-34.
Next weekend, the Lakers (1-1-0) have another long road trip, traveling to Potsdam, N.Y., for two games against Clarkson of the ECACHL. Ohio State (1-1-0) will remain home next weekend, hosting Big Ten rival Minnesota for two games.