COLUMBUS, Ohio — Western Michigan played the perfect road game for the first 40 minutes of their contest against Ohio State on Friday evening, however the Buckeyes found their offensive rhythm with a four goal explosion in the third period as bested the Broncos, 4-2.
Going into the third period, Western Michigan held a 1-0 lead despite being outshot 28-15. Broncos’ goalie Riley Gill stopped everything that came his way.
Ohio State rallied with three goals in a 49 second span starting with Ohio State’s Paul Kirtland’s first collegiate goal at 4:50 of the third. Kirtland had just spent two minutes serving a tripping penalty. The goal was Ohio State’s only power-play goal as they went 1-6.
I thought our guys stuck to the game plan and stuck to the process, Ohio State coach John Markell said. (We) just kept working and got some payback — maybe a little quicker than I expected it to happen.
We had chances to score even when the game was 1-0, Western Michigan coach Jim Culhane said. We didn’t capitalize on our scoring opportunities. OSU hung around.
Ohio State (4-6-1 overall, 3-3-1-1 in the CCHA) added goals from Hunter Bishop at 5:24 of the third period and Mathieu Picard 15 seconds later to go up 3-1.
That was fun to watch, Ohio State goalie Dustin Carlson said.
Western Michigan held a 1-0 lead through two periods. Jared Katz scored the first two periods’ only goal 8:37 into the first on a wrister that snuck past the stick of Ohio State goalie Dustin Carlson.
I thought we had plenty of chances, Markell said about the first two periods. Their goalie played well. He was seeing everything. We weren’t getting much traffic in front of the net. I think we weren’t getting to the secondary rebounds.
I thought we played a smart, intelligent road game in the first 40 minutes, Culhane said. I thought we were executing a lot of things we had talked about coming in here. I was really pleased the way we played in the first 40 minutes.
Carlson came into Friday’s game winless at 0-5 despite respectable a goals against average and a save percentage. He has started the first night of every series with counterpart Cal Heeter going on night two. Heeter is 3-1-1 thus far this season. Carlson got his first win as he stopped 19 of the Broncos’ 21 shots.
This is the first game we gave up — at least on me — less than 30 shots so that was a huge difference, Carlson said. We were just moving around a lot more; especially in our zone. We were moving around with energy but there was a calmness in the guys. We weren’t fighting the puck. We were letting it come to us. We were moving it out pretty quick.
The Broncos (5-3-1, 1-3-1-1) got the game back within their reach when Luke Witkowski scored their second power play goal 12:21 into the third to cut Ohio State’s 3-1 lead in half. Western Michigan finished the game 2-8 on the man advantage.
I liked our resiliency, we found a way to get the game again to 3-2 to cut it a one game with at least seven minutes left in the game, Calhane said.
With 2:24 remaining in the game, Ohio State’s Peter Boyd added an insurance goal when he took a loose puck in front of the crease and fired it past the glove of Gill.
Ohio State and Western Michigan will skate again Saturday evening at Value City Arena. The start time is being pushed to 8:05 p.m. due to an Ohio State football game.
Markell said it will be key for his team is to not be distracted by the result of their university’s football team in their attempt to clinch a conference championship Saturday night. Culhane said that his team is going to need to capitalize on their scoring chances.