COLUMBUS, Ohio — As the No. 17 Ohio State Buckeyes entered the new season, they had tons of optimism coming off an NCAA tournament spot last season and returning 20 players.
They got a tough reality check from the Quinnipiac Bobcats, who won 4-2 on opening night thanks to a high flying third period. To make matters worse, Thursday’s game was in front of the smallest hockey crowd in Ohio State’s 10-year-old home of the Value City Arena — only 1,186.
As Ohio State brought in experience, Quinnipiac came into the game with 10 freshmen playing their first collegiate game. Also missing from the lineup was senior captain John-Marc Beaudoin, whose wife gave birth Wednesday.
“We played a great team,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “Ohio State is No. 17 in the country. I vote in the poll and I think I picked them (No.) 7 or 8. I think they are a better team than that and they are going to be a great team this year.”
“We didn’t want to engage,” Ohio State coach John Markell said. “We did some good things and then immediately went into personal mode and got back to doing dumb penalties. It is not the same hockey team we ended [last year] with. We got beat by 10 freshmen in their lineup and all it was was we were outcompeted in every aspect of the game. … I really think that they were the veteran team and we were the freshmen.”
Quinnipiac had a nearly perfect third period as they notched three goals in their dominating period of play. In the third period, the Bobcats had the first 10 shots on goal and outshot Ohio State 19-8. Ohio State entered the third period leading 2-1. Within 50 seconds, the Bobcats were the ones leading by one. Eric Lampe scored his second goal of the game 33 seconds into the third on a loose puck left in the crease.
“We mentally prepared ourselves for the third period,” Lampe said. “We had to come out with a lot of jam to start and keep it simple, keep the pucks deep, just do it the grinder way and that was a grinder goal. Nothing cute or nothing fancy.”
Brandon Wong scored 17 seconds later on a slap shot from the right faceoff circle. Quinnipiac scored an insurance goal with 6:45 left from Scott Zurevinski.
Quinnipiac opened scoring opened scoring 3:40 into the first when Lampe tipped a pass from Ohio State’s John Albert. As the puck passed through the neutral zone, Lampe beat the Ohio State defenders to get a breakaway shot past the glove of Ohio State goalie Dustin Carlson.
Shane Sims evened the score at one as he scored a five-on-three goal at 12:21 of the first on a slapper past Bobcats goalie Eric Hartzell. Hartzell got beat once more with 1:06 remaining in the first as Albert created a turnover from Bobcats defenseman Bob Davies while shorthanded and skated down the right side of the ice with a two-on-one advantage.
“It was a bad penalty to give them the five-on-three,” Pecknold said. “I thought we were playing well then we took the five-on-three penalty which was unacceptable. And then we gave up that shorty and we were deflated. It is a young team and I went in [the locker room] and said to the guys, ‘You know what, we got 40 minutes to play,’ and they were like, ‘Oh, yeah.’”
Scoring opportunities were few and far between in the second period. Quinnipiac would have had a two-on-one scoring opportunity had there been an extra second or two on the clock.
“In the second period, we were saved by the bell,” Markell said. “Four [of our] guys went after a bouncing puck and they had a two-on-one but the bell rang. I don’t remember practicing that.”