COLUMBUS, Ohio — The last time the Ohio State Buckeyes took the ice at their home venue of Value City Arena, they were completely embarrassed by in-state rival No.1 Miami in a 6-0 loss. Four weeks later, Ohio State was able to take some revenge out on visiting Bowling Green in a 7-2 win Friday evening.
Ohio State improves to 8-12-1 overall and 6-8-1-1 in CCHA play. Bowling Green falls to 3-16-2 overall and 2-11-2-2 in the conference.
Buckeyes’ goalie Cal Heeter stopped 23-of-25 for the game. Falcons’ starting goalie Nick Eno stopped 28-of-33, but was pulled midway through the third for Andrew Hammond. Hammond had two saves and two goals against.
Despite Ohio State having their largest margin of victory in a game this season, coach John Markell said this was not the best all-around performance the team has had this season. This was Ohio State’s first game in nearly four weeks for the holiday break. Bowling Green, on other hand, played in the Dodge Holiday Classic last week.
“I thought there were points in the second period where we got back to some bad habits,” Markell said. “We didn’t know how we were going to come out. That was the first time in a long, long time we didn’t have a Christmas tournament.”
Ohio State grabbed the 1-0 lead 14 minutes into the first when Hunter Bishop knocked in a loose puck on the stick side of Eno. Ohio State outshot Bowling Green 18-12 in the first period.
“Whenever you get that long of a break, you get really worried about the first game,” Bishop said. “We were pretty happy with the outcome tonight.”
The second period featured fewer shots but more goals. Ohio State’s Mathieu Picard notched his second goal of the season to put the Buckeyes up 2-0 at 4:49 into the period, knocking in a rebound from a C.J. Severyn shot. Severyn and John Albert both picked up their second assists of the game on the play.
Tommy Dee cut the Ohio State lead in half 12:23 into the second when his wrister slipped under the glove of Heeter. The period ended with both teams splitting a pair of power-play goals. Defenseman Devon Krogh gave Ohio State the 3-1 lead with three minutes left in the third with his four-on-three goal from the left circle after receiving a well-placed pass from Zac Dalpe.
Bowling Green made it a 3-2 game with less than nine seconds remaining in the second on a shot from Jordan Samuels-Thomas that went under the glove of Heeter. The goal was the Falcons’ only one on the man-advantage for the game.
Bowling Green outshot Ohio State 10-9 in the second.
“I thought we scored a big goal there to make it a 3-2 hockey game,” Bowling Green coach Dennis Williams said. “Late (second period) goal gave us some life there and coming into (the third intermission) down by one instead of down by two there with seven seconds left in the second, we definitely felt good about ourselves.”
After a pair of failed power plays, Bishop put the game away with his second goal of the evening after launching the puck into the net as Eno was down on the ice to give the Buckeyes the 4-2 lead.
The Buckeyes added goals by Severyn, Matt Bartkowski, and Taylor Stefishen in the third period.
Ohio State outshot Bowling Green 10-3 for the third period.
The line of Bishop, Severyn, and Albert combined for nine points. The line has produced at least one goal in four of the last five games. Both Albert and Bishop admitted the key was becoming a close knit group off the ice.
“We are good friends off the ice anyway; we’re just trying to step it up this second half and hopefully we can continue that,” Bishop said.
The Buckeyes had one of their most sound games on the special teams as they went three-for-six on the power play and killed off all but one of the six Bowling Green power plays. Ohio State entered Friday’s match with the worst combined special teams percentage in the nation.
“I thought the PK at the very end was important,” Markell said. “And we got a four-on-three goal, which was real important. It was a good game to start the season after having a long time off.”
“We stressed this week in practice we don’t want to get into a power play (and) penalty kill type game with these guys,” Williams said. “They got the guys who can score. We gave the two goals on the power play in the third period.”