COLUMBUS, Ohio — Peter Boyd scored two third-period goals to push Ohio State past the Bowling Green Falcons, 4-2, giving OSU just their second home win of the season and a weekend split with their instate rivals.
While Scott Paluch and John Markell disagreed in their assessment of Friday’s 5-2 Falcon win, the two head coaches used the same phrase to describe tonight’s game.
“Hard fought,” said Paluch, the BGSU head coach. “I thought they really did a good job of being hungry.”
“Hard fought,” said Markell, “and that’s what you need to do.”
With two Ohio teams battling in the state’s capital city, it seemed fitting that a host of players from the Buckeye state would figure in the final outcome.
OSU freshman Todd Rudasill, a native of the Columbus suburb of Powell, had three assists in just his 13th game of the season, and the first two Buckeyes’ goals were scored by sophomore Nick Biondo and senior Tommy Goebel, who both hail from the Cleveland suburb of Parma.
“We all want to have the pride of saying [that] we’re making this into a good hockey state,” said Rudasill. “We’re playing not only for our team, but our state.”
In all, Ohio State has nine Ohio players on the roster.
In Friday’s contest, the Falcons got two goals from freshman Jacob Cepis, another Parma native. Tonight, Canadian James Perkin and Slovakian Tomas Petruska scored for BG. Freshman Nick Eno made 40 saves as the Buckeyes outshot the Falcons 44-29.
It was Biondo who opened the scoring at 4:33 in the first, capitalizing on the first OSU power play just 13 seconds after Mike Nesdill went to the box for holding. Tom Fritsche, also from Parma, began the play by touching the puck down to Rudasill near the right post; with no shot, Rudasill passed out to Biondo in the slot, and the sophomore one-timed it past Eno for his second goal of the weekend.
The Falcons answered at 9:37 with Perkin’s goal, another goal in which Biondo played a part, albeit unintentionally. Behind the Buckeyes’ net, Biondo attempted to pass the puck along the boards to a teammate but was intercepted by Kai Kantola, who tipped it to Perkins. Perkins tried to bank the puck in off the backside of OSU netminder Joseph Palmer, but Palmer got a leg on it. A second attempt at using Palmer as a backboard, however, did the trick for Perkin and the game was tied, 1-1, after one.
Bowling Green’s hard work at the start of the second period earned them a 2-1 lead at 3:19. From the first drop of the puck, the Falcons buzzed the Buckeyes, creating several chances before Petruska converted, plucking the puck out of midair to put it on his own stick in the right circle before firing on Palmer and scoring in the upper right corner.
At the end of the intense second period, it was Ohio State pressuring Bowling Green and Goebel finally scoring. During a defensive breakdown in front of the BG net, John Albert (Concord, Ohio) shot from the right post, hitting Eno, then picked up his own rebound and shot again. This time, the puck came out front to Goebel, who dove across the crease and put it past Eno on the far side of the net to tie the game, 2-2, at 18:05 and give the Buckeyes the momentum going into the third.
“I thought it was a case [where] Ohio State did a good job getting that gritty goal when they needed, did the better job of getting those types of chances,” said Paluch. “It was going to be that type of game, physical, a very tight type of game.
“The third period, I thought it was a great situation, despite giving up a lot of chances, Nick did a tremendous job of giving us an opportunity basically [in] twenty minutes of getting a sweep on the road. We couldn’t take advantage of that opportunity.”
Instead, it was Boyd and OSU who were able to finally solve Eno for two more goals late in the third. On the game-winner at 15:39, Boyd fired blind to score. Facing center ice, Boyd was hit in the chest with the puck, which dropped right to his stick. Without turning to look, Boyd shot behind him and past Eno for the 3-2 lead.
At 17:49, Boyd finished Rudasill’s play by forcing a rebound past Eno five-hole.
For the Buckeyes, said Markell, keeping it simple was key to capturing the rare home win.
“I thought the first period…was the most jump I’ve seen us have. I thought our guys adhered to our game plan. We dumped pucks and tried to utilize our speed and try to take away their space.
“I thought the effort was there, and to sustain it was what we needed to do.”
Next up for Bowling Green (13-13-0, 10-10-0 CCHA) is a home series against Alaska Feb. 8-9, while Ohio State (9-19-2, 5-14-1 CCHA) travels to Omaha next weekend.