COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State Buckeyes pulled off their first sweep of the 2009-10 campaign with their 4-2 victory over the Western Michigan Broncos Saturday night in Value City Arena. Friday night’s game was also 4-2 in favor of the Buckeyes.
Ohio State’s Saturday goaltender Cal Heeter went to 4-1-1 for the season, allowing two goals on 38 shots against. Western Michigan’s Riley Gill allowed three goals on 29 shots against.
“When you put 39 shots on net, you would like to think that you can score more than a couple goals,” Western Michigan coach Jim Culhane said. “I think the big difference tonight was we had those scoring opportunities, but I think Cal played a tremendous game for OSU and really made some quality saves for them.”
A night after Western Michigan got the first period lead, Ohio State returned the favor, going up 2-0 at one point in the opening frame.
Ohio State’s leading goal scorer, Zac Dalpe, got the first of two goals when he notched a power-play tally at 12:40 of the first after one-timing a well placed pass from fellow Buckeyes’ forward Hunter Bishop.
“First (goal), Bishop and I ran that play in practice all the time and it happened to work out,” Dalpe said.
Bishop scored himself four minutes later when he took a rebound off the pads of Gill and backhanded his shot towards the net. The puck bounced off Gill, off the post, back off of Gill, and into net.
Western Michigan capitalized on a golden opportunity late in the first.
Ohio State had three minor penalties in a one minute span towards the end the first. The penalties were from a C.J. Severyn interference, a Shane Sims unsportsmanlike conduct, and from the bench for unsportsmanlike conduct.
On the ensuing five-on-three, Greg Squires scored on a shot that bounced off Ohio State defender Matt Bartkowski.
“I think at that moment that it was (the Broncos’) fourth or fifth five-on-three (for the weekend),” Ohio State coach John Markell said. “There is no reason for swearing at (the referees).”
“We were getting shots and nothing was working so I got a pass from Luke (Witkowski),” Squires said. “I tried to throw it backdoor to (Max Campbell) and the puck just went off someone’s skate and it went in.”
The second period was filled with many turnovers and odd-man rushes. However, both goaltenders played well. Though outshot in the second, the Broncos had the better of the scoring opportunities. The best chance was when Squires had a breakaway following an Ohio State line change, but Heeter made the pad save.
“I think we’re going to find that the theme from the weekend was we weren’t able to score goals,” Culhane said. “We had opportunities. We had chances, but (it was) one of those weekends for us where we couldn’t get pucks in the back of the net. The bright side to that is we generated scoring opportunities.”
Dalpe found Gill’s glove side post four minutes into the third. The Buckeyes’ forward got his redemption and second goal of the game three minutes later when he one-timed a shot past Gill from a well placed Peter Boyd pass.
“It was hard work down low with my linemates and ultimately it worked out in the end,” Dalpe said about his goal.
Western Michigan answered to cut Ohio State’s 3-1 lead in half midway through the third when Patrick Nagorsen scored after tipping in a centering feed from teammate Derek Roehl.
Boyd added an empty-net goal with 19.7 seconds remaining.
Though Saturday’s score was the same as Friday’s, the two games had two completely different themes. Friday’s game featured a third period rally for the Buckeyes, and Ohio State outshot Western Michigan.
In Saturday’s game, Western Michigan was the team trailing going into the third and also outshot the Buckeyes for the match.
“I think the last time we were up a goal, and I don’t know if we got cocky or complacent but they scored three goals in 49 seconds,” Squires said. “Tonight, we played an all-around 60-minute game. We played a little better. We didn’t get our bounces and we didn’t finish like we were supposed to.”
“I thought that Western Michigan played a lot better game,” Markell said. “It was a learning experience for our guys to get the Friday win. It is easy to get motivated for the second night when you have already lost and you get their attention.”
In the second period, Ohio State lost top line forward Patrick Schafer with an undisclosed injury. In his stead on the top line of Bishop and John Albert was Kyle Reed, who was playing in just his second game after starting the season injured. Reed moved all the way up from the fourth line. Bishop was also injured for much of the beginning of the season.
“I think Kyle Reed is the type of player who is in shape,” Markell said. “We had to get him back in there quickly with him and Hunter Bishop losing a lot of ice time and they had to get back into it hot and heavy here real quick.”