COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State Buckeyes, disappointed after missing out on a first round bye by a single point, responded with a 5-4 win over the Bowling Green Falcons in front of 817 in the OSU Ice Arena Friday night.
The Buckeyes lead the Falcons 1-0 in the best of three CCHA playoff’s opening round.
OSU Ice Rink hosted its first men’s college hockey game in two years as Value City Arena; Ohio State’s usual home was being used due to a high school wrestling tournament. The smaller venue did have an impact with the boards providing more spring on the puck.
It was exactly what we expected in this building, extremely physical game, up-tempo, the pinball reaction off the boards, Bowling Green head coach Scott Paluch said. Both teams were quick on pucks. I liked the way our team battled and won some pucks.
I thought Bowling Green came in here and did exactly what we thought they would do, Ohio State coach John Markell said. They played a very good game. We were fortunate to score enough goals to beat them. Obviously there was some cause for concern, but it is even more of a concern when you are nervous.
Bowling Green is now one loss away from their season ending. Ohio State is still in the hunt for a NCAA Tournament berth as they are 14th in the PairWise Rankings.
Ohio State used a combination of getting shots through to the net from the blue line and successful penalty killing in the victory. Bowling Green was 0-4 in power-play opportunities.
Anytime you take a shot on net, it has a possibility of scoring, Markell said. We talked about it in the second period; we must have needed new panes of glass as we hit the glass really hard. It was disappointing they weren’t hitting the net and make him make a save.
The Falcons got shots on net early with getting six of the game’s first seven shots in opening seven minutes of the game. Ohio State goaltender Dustin Carlson made key saves early. The Buckeyes started getting pucks through to the net midway into the period. Buckeyes forward Corey Elkins deflected a blue line shot from defenseman Erick Belanger 13:30 into the first to score the game’s first goal.
Bowling Green countered with 1:33 remaining in the opening frame with a goal from defenseman Nick Bailen from the right mid-wall.
Maybe the jitters got to us a little bit off the bat and you kind of noticed that in the game, Ohio State forward Peter Boyd said.
Both teams combined for 12 penalties in the second period. One of which was a five minute checking-from-behind penalty by Ohio State’s Ian Boots. Boots hasn’t played much since being called with a spearing penalty in a game against Notre Dame a month ago which ended up costing Ohio State a victory nearly a month ago.
Ohio State got a goal from the blue line from defenseman Corey Toy as he scored his second of the season 11:30 into the second for a 2-1 Buckeyes lead. Bowling Green Tommy Dee would tie the game late in the second for the Falcons during Boots’ penalty, however it was a 4-on-4 goal as Bowling Green’s David Solway was in the penalty box.
The third period for both teams was a wide open game with five combined goals between the two teams. Ohio State would jump out to a two goal game with a goal from Chris Reed from the blue line at 3:14 of the third followed by a goal by Boyd 5:18 into the period.
Bowling Green took a timeout following Boyd’s 4-2 goal and scored 34 seconds later off a rebound off the end-boards that Dan Sexton put into a wide open net to cut Ohio State’s lead in half. About a minute following Sexton’s goal, Bowling Green’s Kai Kantola appeared to score the game’s tying score, however it was waved off for the puck being knocked off the moorings.
Ohio State needed another insurance goal by Boyd 14:23 into the third on a shot from the right faceoff dot. That goal was needed as Bowling Green answered less than 30 seconds later on a goal by Tommy Dee.
In the final minutes, Bowling Green tried to get their goalie off the ice, however a puck being knocked down with a high stick followed by an icing caused goaltender Jimmy Spratt to be on the ice at the buzzer.
Over the 60 minutes, we did a lot of the things we talked about during the week that were going to be necessary to win but that is hockey, Paluch said. You do a lot of things right but there are no guarantees that you win the game.
Ohio State’s leading freshman scorer Zac Dalpe and stay-at-home defenseman Matt Bartkowski due to injuries, but according to Markell both will be in the lineup on Saturday.