COLUMBUS, Ohio — It only took one bad pass from Ohio State Buckeyes’ defenseman Corey Toy to sink his team in a 1-0 loss to the Northern Michigan Wildcats on Friday evening in Value City Arena.
Wildcats’ forward Mark Olver notched the game’s only goal on a wrap-around 22 seconds into the contest after Toy’s pass was off target which hit the back of the net and landed on the stick of Northern Michigan’s Phil Fox. Fox assisted on Olver’s goal.
You don’t win the game in the first five minutes or the first period, Olver said. We definitely knew the game wasn’t over, of course. Getting that first goal with a minute into the game helped us ease the tension.
Both netminders were locked into a classic goaltending duel. Wildcats’ goalie Reid Ellingson notched his first career shutout on 32 saves. Dustin Carlson was the tough luck loser stopping all but one of the 35 shots he faced.
I think our (defense) played really well tonight, Ellingson said. I saw many of the shots and we kept (Ohio State) to the outside for the most part. We just played solid hockey and did what we wanted.
For the final 59 minutes and 38 seconds of the game, the two teams played very even hockey. Neither team had many odd-man rushes, nor was there a single breakaway allowed by both teams’ defenses.
It is a 60 minute game and we coughed it up, Ohio State coach John Markell said.
Good hockey game, two evenly matched teams, Wildcats coach Walt Kyle said.
Mark made a hell of a play in the first 22 seconds of the game to score the goal. From there, it was a dog fight . . . I thought it was real even. We have a lot of respect for their program. We know how it difficult it is to win here.
Ohio State went 0-5 on power-play opportunities. They had success in their first power play which took place midway through the first period; however Ellingson made several key stops. The next four power plays were squashed by a tough Northern Michigan penalty kill. The Wildcats had five shots in two unsuccessful man advantages.
Carlson is still winless through five games played. He has been playing the first night of every series as Cal Heeter has been serving as the second night starter. Despite a respectable 2.43 goals against average and a save percentage of .927 percent, Carlson has only received an average of one goal per game of goal support.
Heeter on the other hand has gotten a goal support average of 2.75 per game. Heeter is 2-1-1 thus far this season.
It is starting to get frustrating, Carlson said. If I let it eat away at me, it is not going to help me at all. The second I let it get me down more and more, I am just going to come in and play a bad game and not be able to play anymore. I try to take the positives out of it (and) watch video. See what I have done right and just look forward to next Friday.
We’re not showing up emotionally the way need to show up (on Friday nights) but we’re doing that on Saturday nights which is disappointing, Markell said. The guy I feel bad for is Dusty (Carlson). We can’t score goals for him . . . getting outcompeted in your own building is getting old.
Ohio State is 0-4 within the ‘friendly’ confines of Value City Arena this season. Their only home win came at a cross town venue against Denver.
Northern Michigan is bouncing off a four game winless streak. They had some success against No. 1 Miami last weekend as they were competitive in both games, however came up short in both games by a single goal. Ellingson got the nod on night two and only allowed two goals against versus the potent RedHawks’ offense.
The whole team took confidence out of both of those games, Ellingson said. We played with the No. 1 team in the country and both games came down to one goal. Yeah, it is tough to lose those two but you have to take positives out of it. We knew for sure that we were playing well and we continued that tonight.
I think our guys recognized the fact we played well and we feel like we are growing and getting better, Kyle said. We came here and certainly knew we had a challenge but I was happy with the effort tonight.