COLUMBUS, Ohio — Defense wins championships. That mantra was true for Ohio State in the championship game of the fifth annual Ohio Hockey Classic in a 2-0 win against the Clarkson Golden Knights in front of 4,902 in Value City Arena.
Both Clarkson and Ohio State were powered by solid goaltending efforts in the opening round of the tournament. Ohio State’s Dustin Carlson stopped 27 of Army’s 28 shots in Friday’s 6-1 win. Clarkson’s Paul Karpowich stopped 40 of No. 2 Miami’s 42 shots on Friday in their 4-2 win. Carlson stopped all of the Golden Knights’ 24 shots. Karpowich stopped the Buckeyes 32 out of 33 times.
Clarkson falls to 3-11-4 for the season. Ohio State is now 13-6-1 and has won eight in a row.
“I thought it was an outstanding weekend for Paul,” Clarkson coach George Roll said. “He gave us a chance to win both games, especially the first period last night and the first period tonight. He kept us in there, we could have been down both nights and credit to his work ethic.”
“I thought the goaltending was where you expected it to be with two teams trying to win a championship,” Ohio State coach John Markell said. “We were fortunate to get the one-goal lead. I thought (Clarkson) played well. They came to play this weekend.”
“I am not really concerned with what any other goalie is doing,” Carlson said about the duel with Karpowich. “I was just concerned about how I was going to play.”
Through the first two periods, both goalies were engaged in a duel. The only goal in the first two periods was scored 7:22 into the first by Ohio State forward Hunter Bishop. Bishop scored on a rebound from a long shot by Shane Sims from the blue line. Corey Elkins, who screened the goaltender’s vision on Bishop’s shot, added his fourth point of the tournament with his second assist.
“One of the things we were saying was to get a lot of pucks on net,” Bishop said. “Most likely the first shot wasn’t going in. As we saw last night, (Karpowich) stood on his head. It is either going to be a rebound goal or off someone’s chin pad or something greasy so we were just trying to put it on net.”
“We knew they defended well; we thought we could get opportunities on them, but we had to get traffic on the net,” Markell said.
For Bishop, this was his seventh game in a row where he notched a goal. The Ohio State sophomore now has nine goals on the season.
Through the first period, Ohio State out-shot Clarkson 15-4. In the second period, the Golden Knights outshot the Buckeyes 10-5.
Carlson and Karpowich continued the duel well into the third period. With 13:06 remaining in the third, Ohio State’s Mathieu Picard committed a hooking penalty. Corey Toy was called for roughing 14 seconds later, resulting in a five-on-three power play by Clarkson. The Golden Knights had four shots on Carlson during the power play before Clarkson’s Lauri Tuohimaa committed an interference to squash their chances.
Karpowich had 13 saves on 13 shots against in the third, three of which to Ohio State’s leading goal scorer Zac Dalpe. Despite Clarkson’s record, going into the game they had outscored their opponents in the third period 14-13. Karpowich was pulled with one minute remaining and Dalpe was able to net the puck on an empty-netter with 41 seconds remaining.
“I don’t think we did a good job of creating rebounds,” Roll said. “Instead, we were trying to score goals from areas you shouldn’t be trying to score from.”
Carlson now has four shutouts for the season. He has allowed 15 goals in the last 11 games. Despite his dismal 3-9-3 record, Karpowich has a respectable 2.89 GAA and .908 save percentage.
“I felt good back there and it helped the team,” Karpowich said of his playing during the entire tournament. “Especially the defense had a solid weekend. I thought the shots that I did get, I was able to see and if there was a rebound, they were there to clear it out.”
With his four-point effort, Elkins was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Along with Elkins, Bishop and Army’s Cody Omilusik were named as the forwards to the All-Tournament Team. Sims and Clarkson’s Bryan Refenach was named the defensemen to the team. Carlson was voted the best goalie in the tournament.
“Walking out to the bench, you could hear a difference in the crowd,” Bishop said of the tournament’s atmosphere.
“Being a freshman, this was a great experience,” Karpowich said of the tournament. “Being in a tournament like this, it was definitely a learning experience. Hopefully we can come back and play next year and play better.”
Ohio State travels to Bowling Green next weekend for their first conference games in over a month. Clarkson has a non-conference home-and-home with St. Lawrence next weekend.