COLUMBUS, Ohio — After taking a 4-0 first period lead Saturday evening, the Quinnipiac Bobcats hung on for dear life as the Ohio State Buckeyes rallied for three goals; however, the rally fell short by one goal.
The two squads split their opening series and start the season 1-1.
“Not really (pleased with a split); I think we have a pretty good team,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “They are a young team, and we’re a little bit older. After last night, yes (on the split), depends on when you asked me. But going into the weekend, I was hoping to take three out of four points. We have a nice team this year.”
The Bobcats got a major boost as Ohio State committed four minor penalties and a very costly major penalty and game misconduct in the first period.
With Quinnipiac holding a 1-0 lead, Ohio State’s Max McCormick was called for a contact to the head major and game misconduct just 5:20 into the first. Replays showed the hit on Quinnipiac’s John Dunbar was likely shoulder-on-shoulder.
“That is a bang-bang play,” Osiecki said. “He’s being aggressive. The guy wasn’t exposed. He wasn’t like he was blindsiding him behind the net… You have to find a way to get through it. Something probably not good is probably coming from it. You have to find a way through.”
On the ensuing power play, Ohio State defenseman Ben Gallacher took a cross-checking penalty to give Quinnipiac a five-on-three man advantage. The Bobcats only needed 16 seconds to convert, as Jeremy Langlois beat Ohio State’s Cal Heeter at 7:37 of the first with his first of two goals, after Matthew Peca made a nice diagonal pass.
Langlois converted on another power-play opportunity less than four minutes later to give the Bobcats a 3-0 lead. Langlois’s goal chased Heeter and Osiecki brought in transfer Brady Hjelle to play his first game for OSU. Quinnipiac’s Connor Jones added a goal late in the first to give the Bobcats a 4-0 lead heading into the second period.
“The power play is a big thing for us,” Langlois said. “Get some good movement out there. Get a few goals, which is always good. And just set the way for the rest of the game.”
Ohio State suffered 23 minutes of penalty time and gave the Bobcats five power plays in the first period.
“The first period, that was the difference,” Osiecki said. “A lot of minutes trying to kill off with a young team. We put ourselves behind the eight-ball there.”
Russell Goodman started out the scoring by notching an unassisted goal after stealing a Gallacher pass and slapping a shot over Heeter 4:40 into the game.
“The biggest thing tonight that helped us was our first goal,” Pecknold said. “Goodman came down and ripped it under the bar and gave us a lot of confidence. Even though we got those power plays, we were better on those power plays because we were playing confident. We really needed to score first tonight, because we needed to feel like we could score on Heeter.”
Ohio State made the game interesting in the second period with a pair of goals to get to within two. Freshman Matt Johnson scored his first collegiate goal at 11:46 of the second. Less than four minutes later, Cory Schneider scored from a bad angle when his shot went off the skate of Bobcats’ goalie Eric Hartzell.
The Buckeyes nearly made the game 4-3 when Chris Crane’s cross-ice pass found Danny Dries, who knocked the puck down into the net. It was a close call, but it was waved off by on-ice officials with 91 seconds left in the game. Ohio State had to wait until the final minute to get within one when Ryan Dzingel poked in a loose puck with 55 seconds left.
The two squads were in an all-out scramble for the final seconds of the game, as the Buckeyes had a number of chances to tie it.
“I think that is one of the positive things you can take out of this game,” Ohio State senior defenseman Devon Krogh said. “We did come back and we were resilient. We worked hard to try to come back in this game.”