COLUMBUS, Ohio — Senior Night seems like an eternity from now for most of Ohio State’s starters as coach Mark Osiecki started 10 freshmen for Friday’s season opener against Quinnipiac. His young group of Buckeyes defeated the visiting Bobcats 2-1 led by a game-winning 5-on-3 goal by freshman Ryan Dzingel.
Ohio State got the go-ahead and eventual game-winner at 7:44 of the third as Dzingel and Max McCormick hooked up to give Dzingel his first collegiate goal on the two man advantage. Dzingel—a 2011 draft pick of the Ottawa Senators—was a significant factor in Friday’s game.
“It was pretty exciting, a lot of the freshman came out and played hard,” Dzingel said.
A pair of major penalties proved to be the difference in Friday’s game.
“The two majors and the one where they go on the 5-on-3 and then they score, that is the hockey game,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “Even the first one we killed off, we lose our best player and our captain. That killed us. We expended a lot of energy killing that one off.”
Quinnipiac’s first major penalty came 8:02 into the second as captain Scott Zurevinski drove Danny Dries into the boards behind the Bobcats’ net. Zurevinski was also given a game misconduct. Quinnipiac did a good job killing off the five minute OSU power play only allowing two shots on goal.
“It didn’t go as well as we liked and really sucked the energy from our bench,” Osiecki said about the Buckeyes’ second period power play. “But I thought we responded well.” Zurevinski “is a big physical kid, he plays the body hard,” Pecknold said. “Last year, that is probably a two (minute minor).”
The Bobcats second major proved to be a bit more costly. Freshman Bryce VanBrabant was charged with a contact to the head major and game misconduct 6:10 into the third on a hit to Dries. Ohio State went on a 5-on-3 man advantage 21 seconds later as Darik Angeli drew a slash as he was on a breakaway.
“I don’t know how we gave up that breakaway but that was unacceptable,” Pecknold said. “I thought we had a few d-men who struggled tonight.”
The 5-on-3 was when Dzingel was able to work his magic.
“All those penalties today, it was a weird momentum shift,” Dzingel said. “It was one of those plays that happened so quick, I don’t remember what happened.”
Quinnipiac outshot Ohio State 36-16 for the game. Ohio State goaltender Cal Heeter looked effortless in stopping all but one of the 36 shots he faced. Heeter was one of only six upperclassmen on the ice for Ohio State. Quinnipiac’s Eric Hartzell stopped 14-of-16.
“It was nice not to come out and get blasted right away in the first period in the first game of the year,” Heeter said. “We played well, came out and played well from the opening draw.”
The Buckeyes notched their first goal of the season just 3:20 into the game. Chris Crane’s goal was 30 seconds into a power play as he redirected Alex Carlson’s cross-crease feed past the glove side of Hartzell.
Quinnipiac knotted the game at one Spencer Heichman scored on the second rebound following his own shot and a shot from teammate Jeremy Langlois as he was on Heeter’s glove side doorstep. The Bobcats fired 16 shots on goal in the second. The goal came late in the second period and put the youthful Buckeyes on the ropes going into the third period.
“Cal gave us an opportunity and he made some great saves,” Osiecki said. “Very calm in the net. He did his job.”
Ohio State finished 2-for-4 on the power play Friday. Quinnipiac was blanked in four chances, while accumulating 34 penalty minutes.