COLUMBUS, Ohio — It took two months, seven games and nearly 426 minutes of hockey, but somebody finally scored a game-winning goal at home for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
That somebody was a freshman from New Brunswick named Peter Boyd, whose goal at :56 in overtime gave Ohio State a come-from-behind, 3-2 win over visiting St. Lawrence for the Buckeyes’ first home win of the season and their third win in five games.
After a stretch of 11 winless contests from Oct. 19 through Nov. 24 and no wins at home, after this one head coach John Markell brushed his right shoulder and joked about shaking the monkey from back.
“We just got opportunistic at the end,” said Markell. “The guys worked for it, and it’s nice to see a couple of the younger guys who got the goals. We need them chipping them in.
“I thought [goaltender] Joe [Palmer] had a good game, and he made some saves on two-on-ones, and that’s what we need to have. We finally scored enough goals for him to get the win.”
Palmer finished the night with 22 saves on 24 shots for his fifth win of the season. Trailing 2-0 after one, the Buckeyes got goals from Tommy Goebel in the second, Kyle Reed in the third and Boyd’s overtime game-winner.
“We played a better third period,” said Markell. “I give credit to the kids. We weren’t on top of our game and it resembled nothing like we were playing last weekend.
“St. Lawrence had a lot to do with that. They jumped on their opportunities. We weren’t getting pucks on net. We weren’t creating many turnovers. The only turnovers we were creating, we weren’t getting pucks deep. We were passing it poorly. We had a number of guys who were a step off.”
For a St. Lawrence team whose season has mirrored in many ways Ohio State’s, letting a two-goal lead and eventually the game slip away was hard to take.
“It’s a pretty tough loss in terms of trying to get something established on the road,” said SLU head coach Joe Marsh. “It’s been like that. You get into close games when it’s going well, you see the confidence; when it isn’t, you get back on your heels a little bit.
“I give them a lot of credit. They seemed to have the jump on us. I think they’re a good team. I think we’re a good team. The records are very deceiving.”
St. Lawrence took that two-goal lead after one on a Mike McKenzie’s power-play goal and Jordan Hack’s crashing even-strength tally. On McKenzie’s goal, Brock McBride won a faceoff in the left OSU circle and dropped the puck back to McKenzie, who hit Matt Generous at the top of the slot. Generous fired and Palmer gave the rebound right back to McKenzie, who had circled to right of the crease to capitalize on the rebound at 4:40 to make it 1-0.
It was 2-0 at 8:57 when Jordan Hack finished off a Derek Keller rebound after the Saints stole the puck in their own zone and crashed in two-on-one.
But in spite of the Saints outshooting the Buckeyes 11-5 in the second, it was Ohio State who scored the lone goal in the middle stanza. Tom Fritsche stole the puck at the top of the SLU slot and danced around Saints defender Jared Ross to force a two-on-none with Fritsche right and Goebel left. Fritsche dished across the crease to Goebel, who chipped in his eighth goal of the season at 4:10 to cut the SLU lead to one.
“I thought we played pretty well in the first couple of periods,” said Marsh, “but we just can’t seem to seal the deal. The shift that they tied the game on, our guys were out there for a minute and forty seconds and that just kills you.”
It was Kyle Reed scoring his third of the season from his knees at 17:34 in the third to tie the game. With the Buckeyes controlling the puck and buzzing the SLU net, Patrick Schaefer zipped the puck across the crease between two Saints defenders to Reed, who shot from point-blank range. St. Lawrence goaltender Alex Petizian made a spectacular save on the initial shot but gave the puck directly back to Reed, who one-timed it to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, referee Tim Kotyra threw up his arm to signal a Saints penalty roughly 20 seconds in, but he never had the chance to send someone to the box. With Palmer pulled for the extra attacker, the Buckeyes played the puck in the SLU zone for at least 36 seconds before scoring. Boyd’s game-winning goal began with a shot from the right point by Corey Toy and an accidental deflection toward the net by Matt McIlvane. When the rebound came out, it hit Sergio Somma before coming back to Boyd, who popped it home for OSU’s first home win of the season.
And in the equation, Toy — who took the initial shot — didn’t earn an assist.
“A good shot from the point,” said Boyd. “I think it hit Goebel, or McIlvane, or Serge…and it just squirted up to me, and I was fortunate enough to place it where I wanted it to go.”
Ohio State’s post-game celebration exhibited as much relief as joy. “It took a lot of character in our dressing room,” said McIlvane. “I think we’ve turned the corner from that standpoint. We’re able to put the bad play behind us and move forward.
“I don’t think we’re too proud of our first period. I think we kind of got away from what we do well, but we were able to regroup and come back and play physical.”
The Saints finished the night 1-for-4 on the power play, the Buckeyes 0-for-3. Petizian stopped 22-of-25 for his third loss of the season.
“The tough thing is now [that] you hope that some of the things that you talk about will work,” said Marsh. “When they don’t and you get enough of these [losses], it’s almost like…I just hope that guys don’t turn a deaf ear to it. You’ve got to pay attention to some of these things.”
St. Lawrence (5-8-3, 2-4-2 ECAC) and Ohio State (5-11-1, 2-8-0 CCHA) return to Value City Arena Saturday night to finish this nonconference set. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m.