BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — The Ohio State Buckeyes used an offensive explosion on Friday night at the BG Ice Arena, which involved scoring nine goals on three different Bowling Green goalies to get back in the win column with a big 9-3 victory.
Sophomore Corey Elkins, who came into the weekend with only two career points as a Buckeye, paced OSU (3-6-2; 3-4-2) with his first collegiate hat trick, as seven different Buckeyes found the net. Tommy Goebel and John Dingle each added a goal and two assists as OSU used the limited opportunities they got to the fullest, as they only held a 25-24 shot advantage on the night.
“We were opportunistic and that’s good,” OSU head coach John Markell said. “I thought we did a better job of adhering to our systems and thought [Joseph] Palmer was good when he needed to be tonight.”
Palmer, who had struggled in the opening game of last week’s series with Western Michigan allowing seven goals, stopped 21 shots on the night to pick up his third career win in a solid effort. Jimmy Spratt got the start for the Falcons (3-7-1; 1-6-0) on the other end, but struggled giving up three goals in the first 7:48 of the game before being yanked for freshman Eddie Neville.
Neville would then allow five goals in the next 48 minutes, making only 12 saves before being replaced by fellow freshman Phil Greer in the final minutes of the game. Though Greer was in for just a limited amount of time, the Buckeyes wouldn’t leave him out of their offensive show as Elkins capped his three-goal night with a goal at the 17:09 mark to finish off the night’s scoring.
The Buckeye onslaught started just 6:23 into the game as Dominic Maiani knocked home rebound off a shot from Dingle in the slot that bounced off the pad of Spratt.
Just 1:25 later it was already 3-0 as Tyson Strachan and Elkins took advantage of BG’s frustrated sophomore net-minder, who in the second game of the season had a similar experience occur as Alabama-Huntsville got three on him in the first 3:29.
OSU would finish the first period with a 4-1 lead, as the Falcon offense struggled to find a rhythm.
“Us falling behind kind of took us a little bit out of what we wanted to do,” BGSU head coach Scott Paluch said. “We never really got our mojo down in terms of finishing checks and creating loose pucks. We just didn’t have that ability to get much going.”
One thing the Falcons were able to get going finally was their power play, which had gone 0-for-42 before Mike Nesdill found the net at the 17:20 mark of the first period. BG would end the night 2-for-13, while OSU would finish 3-9 with the extra attacker.
The Buckeyes used the extra-man advantage to grab a 6-1lead in the second, before letting Derek Whitmore bring some life back to the Falcons with a short-handed breakaway goal following a five-minute game misconduct against line-mate Tomas Petruska.
Whitmore would then notch his ninth goal of the season on a 5-on-3 power play to get the Falcons within three with just over 12 minutes left. But the Buckeyes would put an end to any comeback hopes as they once again exploded for three quick goals in the second half of the final period, this time in 3:48.
Elkins and Dingle, who coach Markell had been telling to fire the puck on net would add all three goals, as the Buckeyes picked up their third CCHA win.
“We’ve been working hard on them to shoot the puck because they both can shoot and score,” Markell said. “I think there were plenty of opportunities they missed on, but it was nice to see a payoff for that hard work.”
“It’s always nice to get wins on the road and we haven’t put together a full weekend yet and that was something we wanted to do this weekend,” Elkins said. “We wanted to come in and take care of business Friday and now we can focus on tomorrow and try to put together a full weekend.”
One big factor that may stand in the way of that goal for the Buckeyes, is a big game being played back home tomorrow that will still be going on when the team arrives at the rink.
“We got an awful emotional day tomorrow whether we like it or not,” Markell said.
“That football game is going to affect us and I’m not quite sure how some of these guys, who have never been on the road in a situation like this before are going to react. And that concerns me and we’ll have to see how we address that.”
“It’s a big thing for Ohio State,” Elkins added. “We’re all Buckeyes at heart so we want to watch that game a little bit, but it’s not going to be a distraction because we know these guys are going to come tomorrow fired up and we have to match it.”
The Buckeyes and Falcons will conclude their series tomorrow night with the face-off coming at 7:05 p.m.