COLUMBUS, Ohio — For a Halloween weekend matchup, Friday night’s game between Ohio State and Alaska lived up to its eerie billing. The Buckeyes scored four power-play goals, including a pair from Danny Dries to defeat the Nanooks 6-0.
“We kept it simple; all of our goals were right around the net,” Dries said. “We had to get greasy and the offense kept coming.”
Chris Crane also had a pair of goals to bolster Ohio State’s blowout.
“It is early in the year for us, and we have to learn from our mistakes here tonight,” Alaska assistant coach Brian Meisner said. “We have a long way to go in our season. In a lot of ways, we have some issues that we have to cleanup. We have to figure out a way to stay out of the penalty box and do a better job on special teams.”
The last time Ohio State scored at least four power-play goals in a game was on December 12, 2008 against Bentley. All four goals were scored by rebounds. The Buckeyes scored three times on a five-minute power play in the first period.
Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki said he challenged his young team at morning skate, wanting his players to hold each other accountable. The players received his message.
“How can we get toward the consistency factor, and I think that the response to that, it was the only thing we had on the board today, ‘response,’ they had it,” Osiecki said.
Ohio State was without leading point scorer Ryan Dzingel due to an upper-body injury suffered after Thursday’s game.
As Ohio State forward Paul Kirtland was skating between the benches, Alaska’s Scott Enders knocked Kirtland in the head. The contact resulted in a major penalty and a game misconduct. The Buckeyes’ power play went to work 5:22 into the game.
Dries scored his third and fourth goals of the season after taking rebounds from Alex Szczechura and Curtis Gedig and firing the puck past Nanooks’ goalie Scott Greenham to put Ohio State up 2-0 8:54 into the game. Crane grabbed a rebound off Greenham from a Ben Gallacher shot to give Ohio State a 3-0 advantage before the midway point of the first period.
“When they scored three goals, that was a big blow,” Meisner said. “And obviously losing a senior defenseman who plays a lot of minutes on our power play definitely affected us. We really couldn’t recover from that.”
“Our mentality has been to come out with the first punch,” Crane said. “We came out 3-0 and it told Alaska ‘We are here to play tonight.’”
Ohio State scored its fourth power-play goal 2:40 into the second when Darik Angeli’s shot from the left circle beat the stick of Greenham.
Ohio State finished 4-for-7 on the power play. Ohio State’s penalty kill was on the task as well, stopping Alaska on all eight of its power plays.
“We tweaked (our power play) a little bit, especially with some guys out of the lineup,” Osiecki said. “Once we got to the setup we wanted, I thought our guys did a good job with it. They had a good net presence, got pucks down toward the net. I think they stuck with it.”
Szczechura notched a goal of his own at 10:26 of the third to give OSU a 5-0 lead. Crane scored his second of the game under the glove of Greenham at 15:06 of the third.
The shutout marked Cal Heeter’s and Ohio State’s first since Jan. 7 against Miami. Ohio State travels to Alabama-Huntsville for the final time next weekend, as the Chargers are looking for their first win of the season.
Alaska returns home to face No. 16 Miami, as the RedHawks will look to win their first conference game of the campaign.