COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State Buckeyes pulled off their third consecutive upset at home against a top 10 team as they blew out the eighth ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish 6-1 in Value City Arena Friday evening.
The last time Notre Dame visited Ohio State, the Buckeyes swept the Fighting Irish out of the first round of the CCHA Playoffs with wins of 3-1 and 8-2 last March 5 and 6. Ohio State is 7-1-1 at home against Notre Dame in the last nine meetings in Columbus.
“Ohio State took advantage of their opportunities and we didn’t,” Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson said. “So the score matches the breaks you create. They created some breaks.”
“The score was not real indicative of how the game was,” Ohio State head coach Mark Osiecki said.
“We want them to enjoy it right now but it is just one step. They have to turn the page when they leave the building and get focused for tomorrow.”
Notre Dame has now lost back-to-back games after also losing to Alaska last Saturday. Ohio State only got two conference points last weekend at Western Michigan but swept Miami at home two weekends ago.
Ohio State’s first goal came 4:50 into the first as Paul Kirtland cleaned-up a rebound off Notre Dame goalie Mike Johnson following a Cory Schneider partial breakaway. The Fighting Irish scored their only goal of the game 18:11 into the first as T.J. Tynan’s shot from the left point went of OSU defenseman Sean Duddy’s skate.
“I try not to go in and go nuts at the players too often” during intermission,” Osiecki said. Assistant coaches “Steve Rohlik and Steve Brent did a good job of going in and saying ‘it is a 1-1 hockey game after one. We had a pretty good start to the game now we have to shore some things up.’ We addressed that and our team responded.”
After a 1-1 first period, Ohio State responded with five unanswered goals in the final two periods. The Buckeyes scored 13 seconds apart on goals from Danny Dries and Peter Boyd in the second period. Boyd’s shot was the first of two that took a weird carom off the end boards which caught Johnson off guard.
“Our team right now is a little bit fragile,” Jackson said. “We’ve given up crazy bounces and crazy goals in the last couple weeks and months. I think we deflated a bit after giving up the (Boyd) goal off the stanchion. I think we didn’t response well after that.
“I am concerned about the state of mind of our team right now as far as responding to adverse situations. We’re playing without one of our top scorers (Calle Ridderwall) and we need other guys to step up in that situation.”
Travis Statchuk scored his first collegiate goal as he also caught Johnson out of the net following a dump-in off the end boards 5:21 into the third to give Ohio State a 4-1 lead.
“They had different types of goals and we had a lot of those goals scored against us this year,” Jackson said. “Just crazy kind of bounces, deflections, and goals against and I am a big believer that those bounces are a direct result of creating.”
Johnson was then pulled for Steven Summerhays and he was immediately greeted with a goal from C.J. Severyn after just 41 seconds after entering the game. John Albert scored 12:34 into the third to make it a 6-1 game.
“Hockey is a funny game,” Ohio State forward Sergio Somma said. “You get good bounces some nights, bad bounces some nights. We happened to get good bounces. They are a great team.”
Ohio State goalie Cal Heeter stopped 35-of-36 Notre Dame shots. Johnson played 45 minutes and had four goals against on 24 shots against before being replaced by Summerhays.
Ohio State climbed into a tie for fifth place in the CCHA and only trails Ferris State by one point for fourth as the Bulldogs have two more games played. Notre Dame has fallen out of first place in the conference as Michigan defeated Alaska tonight. Ohio State’s recent climb in the standings has not fazed Osiecki.
“You’re talking to a guy who doesn’t look at standings,” he said. “It doesn’t matter right now. We have to get better.”