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College Hockey:
Johnson’s third-period goal lifts Ohio State into stalemate with Quinnipiac

— Quinnipiac and Ohio State skated to a 1-1 tie on Friday night at the Highpoint Solutions Arena as Matt Johnson’s goal midway through the third period knotted the game for the Buckeyes after the Bobcats controlled the puck for most of the game.

“We didn’t feel like we got into any of our systems tonight because we weren’t moving our feet and it had a lot to do with what Quinnipiac was doing,” OSU coach Mark Osiecki said. “They just didn’t allow us to get into our game.”

After giving up six goals last Friday to Minnesota-Duluth, Buckeyes’ senior Brady Hjelle responded by giving up just one goal on 24 shots.

“It was a great bounce back performance for him,” Osiecki said. “His last two or three outings even going back to last year are not at the level that he wanted and he played very well tonight. He certainly gave us an opportunity to play.”

After a scoreless first period, the Bobcats jumped on the board at the 9:45 marker of the second period.

Matthew Peca intercepted a clearing pass just outside the offensive zone and transitioned quickly into the Buckeyes’ zone. Peca picked his shot at the right circle and wristed his shot just inside the left post past Hjelle for the 1-0 lead.

“It was a broken play that I kind of got lucky on,” Peca said. “The puck went right on my stick and we had a three-on-two. I had a great screen at the net and Kellen [Jones] just went to the net and I saw the left side open.”

Ohio State evened the score 10:55 into the third period on a defensive collapse by the Bobcats.

OSU’s Tyler Lundey chased down a loose puck in the far corner of the Quinnipiac zone. As a pair of defenders collapsed on Lundey, he shuffled a pass into the slot. Johnson sat all alone in front the net and roofed the puck just under the cross bar to tie the game at 1-1.

Quinnipiac had its fair share of chances throughout the second and third periods to increase its lead, but never could score a second.

With just 6:30 left in regulation the Bobcats won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Mike Dalhuisen, who wasted no time wristing a screened shot from the left circle. The puck rang off the right post, keeping the game tied at one.

“What we need to do is finish our chances,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “We are getting chances, but we just aren’t finishing, both on the power play and five-on-five. We’ve had a ton of chances, but we just need some confidence.”

In addition to not finishing its chances, for the second straight game, the Bobcats were without a top goal scorer. Last Sunday against Robert Morris, Jeremy Langlois missed action with an injury, while Connor Jones was forced to sit out tonight and is listed as day to day.

Just like Quinnipiac, Ohio State had a chance of its own that went off the pipe. Shortly after the Bobcats took the 1-0 lead, QU’s Jordan Samuels-Thomas went hard into the boards in the Ohio State end. As the Bobcat players looked for a penalty call, OSU’s Travis Statchuk picked up the puck in the neutral zone and streaked in on Eric Hartzell. Statchuk’s backhander beat Hartzell, but bounced off the left post.

Quinnipiac and Ohio State will finish off the weekend series Saturday at 4 p.m.

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