COLUMBUS, Ohio — Coaches exclaim often that hockey is a 60-minute game. The Lake Superior State Lakers learned the hard way that a 67-second effort is not enough to win, as the Ohio State Buckeyes rallied to defeat the Lakers ,5-2, on Saturday evening.
The Lakers had a 2-0 lead before most fans had a chance to take their seat in Ohio State’s Value City Arena. Ohio State finished the game off by scoring five unanswered goals on its Senior Night.
“I thought Ohio State deserved to win tonight,” Lake Superior State coach Jim Roque said. “They battled hard, competed and won more battles. I thought we looked tired tonight. We have been pushing our guys pretty hard for weeks to keep in the race.”
Saturday was the first night Lakers goalie Kevin Kapalka gave up more than two goals since Jan. 14, when the Lakers lost 4-0 to Michigan State. a span of 10 games.
“We didn’t do a good job around him; they got three or four whacks on a couple of those goals and point blank chances,” Roque said. “The 2-0 (start) is a little bit misleading.”
Ohio State converted on two of its three power-play chances. Its first power-play goal came 4:42 into the second from senior Sergio Somma after getting a nice centering pass from fellow senior John Albert.
The Buckeyes’ second power-play goal came 10:17 into the third to go up 4-2 from Chris Crane’s fourth of the season.
Seniors Corey Toy and Peter Boyd added goals for Ohio State.
“I think the goals that we scored were from hard work in front of the net and just getting rebounds and shooting the puck at the net,” Somma said. “That was a positive for a team.”
“All of a sudden, the puck is in the back of our net and you’re wondering ‘how are our guys going to respond,’ and a questionable goal,” Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki said. “Now all of a sudden, they score a second. How are they going to respond? I thought our 11 upper-classmen responded unbelievably well. They have done so all year.”
Danny Dries also scored his 14th of the season for the Buckeyes.
Lake Superior State went on a power-play nine seconds into the game when Ohio State’s Shane Sims was whistled for boarding. On the ensuing power play, Lakers forward Colin Campbell scored a goal after taking a Fred Cassiani pass off the skate and directed the puck past the stick side of Ohio State’s Cal Heeter.
Despite replays showing the puck being directed by Campbell with a slight kicking motion, the goal stood following a several-minute long review and gave the Lakers a 1-0 lead.
“Matty (Shegos) said that ‘it was 100 percent;’ that that’s what he saw,” Osiecki said. “I mean it is what it is. I wasn’t arguing. I was asking what he saw and was he 100 percent sure? He said he was. If you look at the video afterwards, I guess I need to be explained — we do as a team — how they define it. It is a tough one to swallow.”
In the NCAA Ice Hockey Rule Book, rule six, section 18 says, “A goal shall not be allowed if the puck has been kicked or directed into the goal off an attacking player’s skate or any body part. When in doubt, the goal shall be disallowed.”
“I think the refs made the call and it was right in his mind,” Toy said. Toy was on the ice during the goal. “It doesn’t really matter what I see on the ice. I didn’t really agree with it, but it is what it is.”
The Lakers took the 2-0 lead 30 seconds later on their second shot of the game as Rick Schofield also beat the stick of Heeter.
A big weekend is ahead for both teams. Lake Superior State is only two points ahead of Ohio State for eighth place. Both teams can finish as high as fourth and as low as ninth with just two games remaining in the conference schedule. Ohio State hosts Ferris State and Lake Superior State welcomes Miami next weekend.
“It doesn’t matter who you play now, you have to play good,” Roque said. “The good thing with Miami next week is that we are going to play a very good team that didn’t play this weekend. It has got to help us for the playoffs playing a quality opponent.”