COLUMBUS, Ohio — A night after Ohio State defeated Northern Michigan, 4-1, in dominating fashion; the Buckeyes were able to repeat the score with a 4-1 result on Saturday night, powered by four Buckeyes notching a multi-point effort.
Ohio State doubled-up Northern Michigan in shots at 38-19. The Buckeyes outshot the Wildcats 76-32 for the weekend.
“I thought they were really aggressive,” Wildcats coach Walt Kyle said. “They kept us in our end. They were outshooting us 31-8 [through two periods]. They were owning the game. That 2-0 [second intermission] lead could have been 6-0.”
With the victory, Ohio State moves into a three-way tie for first place in the CCHA with Notre Dame and Lake Superior State through eight games. Ohio State will carry a five-game winning streak and a seven-game unbeaten streak into Michigan next weekend.
“It is a fine line, because you want to correct many things, but hockey is a game of mistakes,” Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki said. “The team that makes the fewest generally has success. Hopefully our guys understand that, but they have to enjoy this moment.”
“We’re young, so maybe a little naive, so we’re just taking it day-to-day trying to get better every day,” Ohio State forward Danny Dries said. “Try not to look at our record or ranking or any of that stuff. It doesn’t matter until March.”
Northern Michigan continues its struggles, and is winless in seven games. NMU has gone six games in a row scoring no more than two goals. The Wildcats return home to face the Michigan State Spartans next weekend.
“The biggest thing is we’re not very good offensively,” Kyle said. “Early, we were getting production from all over, and right now, our power play is gone.”
Buckeyes sophomore defender Curtis Gedig had his first collegiate goal. Gedig was one of four Buckeyes who finished with a goal and an assist.
The Buckeyes opened the scoring 10:54 into the first when Dries’s shot from between the circles beat the glove of Northern Michigan goaltender Reid Ellingson.
Ohio State chased Ellingson 9:08 into the second after Buckeyes forward Nick Oddo led a two-on-one break with teammate Darik Angeli and Oddo finished the rush by wristing a shot over Ellingson’s glove.
Ellingson was not struggling, as he allowed two goals on 21 shots against, and made several big saves. Jared Coreau made his fifth appearance of the season between the pipes for the Wildcats.
Northern Michigan’s Dylan Walchuk cut Ohio State’s lead to 2-1, cleaning up a rebound left by Ohio State goalie Cal Heeter on a Reed Seckel shot 3:12 into the third period. The Wildcats were an energetic bunch for the opening minutes of the third.
That energy was drained seconds after Walchuk’s goal as Northern Michigan senior forward Andrew Cherniwchan had to be helped to the dressing room after a collision at center ice. Wildcats defenseman Kyle Follmer was called for a retaliatory roughing after the whistle penalty.
“I thought in the third, we came out and for five minutes in, we took it over for a little bit, just for a brief time,” Kyle said. “Got the goal, all of a sudden we were 2-1, and absolutely not deserving to be there. But I liked where we were, and we were starting to play a little bit.
“Then we had one of our guys make a really dumb, lack-of-discipline play. The refs are telling [Follmer] to get out, get out, get out, and he failed to and lost his composure.”
Ohio State only needed 40 seconds of the ensuing power-play to regain its two-goal advantage. Gedig’s goal came 4:14 into the third on a slap shot that beat Coreau. Ohio State added an insurance goal less than three minutes later from Alex Lippincott to go up 4-1.
“We’ve handled adversity well and I think the success as well,” Osiecki said. “I almost look at it the other way. The first two periods, we played well but we didn’t score. We had wide open nets, crossbars, all of a sudden, are you going to start second guessing yourself? I don’t think we did. I think it was almost a good thing Northern scored and made it close to see what we’re made of.”