College Hockey:
Early goals carry Ohio State over Lake Superior

— Ohio State Buckeyes coach Mark Osiecki has been preaching that you need to do more than get pucks to the net. Though goals seemingly came quickly in Ohio State’s 6-1 win over the Lake Superior State Lakers Saturday evening, the Buckeyes did everything they needed to do to score a lot of goals.

“It is not just getting pucks to the net, you have to do some details around the net,” Osiecki said. “It is about taking the goalie’s eyes away, it is about being relentless around the net, it is about stopping at the net and not going behind the net. If you do those things, good things will happen.”

Ohio State’s Alex Szczechura scored a pair of goals in the first 4:02 to put the game out of reach early. The Buckeyes pounded the Lakers early, with five first-period goals.

“It is something that we really emphasized is getting on teams early,” Szczechura said. “We struggled with that in the past but this weekend, we did a pretty good job.”

Ohio State pulled off its third weekend sweep of the campaign. Lake Superior State, on the other hand, was swept for the second time on the season.

Saturday marked the second straight contest that the Buckeyes chased the Lakers’ starting goalie. Friday evening, Kevin Kalpalka was pulled after allowing a goal on five shots. Tonight, Kevin Murdock started and lasted 4:02 after allowing three goals on five shots against.

“My two guys have played great all year; they had a bad night and that is all I can say,” Lake Superior State coach Jim Roque said. “They will bounce back, I know they will. I know Kapalka didn’t have a great start last night, Murdock tonight, but they have been great for us all year. They had a tough weekend; we’ll move on.”

Szczechura put Ohio State on the board just 43 seconds into the contest. Riley Simpson’s wrist shot from the right circle beat Murdock’s glove less than two minutes later for the eventual game-winner.

Szczechura scored at 4:02 into the first after the puck slipped under the blocker shoulder of Murdock to give Ohio State a 3-0 advantage. The goal chased Murdock, and Kapalka entered. He did not fare much better early on.

Alex Lippincott gave the Buckeyes a 4-0 lead while short-handed as he put his own rebound behind Kapalka. Anthony Greco gave the Buckeyes a 5-0 advantage 14:11 into the period on a backhander that beat the stick of the goalie.

“We had [bounces] go our way, but our players certainly deserved it,” Osiecki said. “They have gone through a lot of difficult situations and they deserved it. Last weekend, we probably played better and [we got swept].”

Lake Superior State got on the board 17:51 into the first, as Andrew Dommett’s slap shot went through the five-hole of Ohio State goalie Brady Hjelle.

After a scoreless second period, Roque was looking to generate some offense by pulling Kapalka with 12 minutes remaining in the third and the Lakers trailing by four. The plan backfired, as Ryan Dzingel fired a shot into the empty net for Ohio State’s sixth goal.

What was Roque’s message to his squad after a tough weekend?

“I told them it is over,” he said. “Tough weekend, we have to move on. We go back to work Monday, get healthy, and get ready to go to Bowling Green next weekend. You can’t feel sorry for yourself this time of year.”

Ohio State will continue its homestand Friday and Saturday against Notre Dame. The Lakers stay in Ohio and travel to Bowling Green Friday and Saturday.

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