COLUMBUS, Ohio — The road back has been a slow process for Ohio State forward Nick Oddo. The sophomore spent the first half of the season out of the lineup due to injury. In his ninth game back, Oddo made a statement.
With Ohio State trailing 1-0, he stepped up to help on three goals for the Buckeyes’ power play, which helped Ohio State to a 6-3 victory over No. 9 Notre Dame Friday evening.
Oddo’s goal and two assists on the five-minute power play increased his point total on the season from two to five.
“He’s getting back into it,” Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki said. “Getting into game shape, getting into game speed, you’re missing the first half of the season, it is extremely hard. We feel good as a staff for him. I was saying this today, he has very high hockey IQ. He is not the fastest guy on the ice, but his hockey sense is off the chart, which leads him to be in the right spot.”
Oddo sported a huge gash on the left side of chin following the game. He said he needed five or six stitches for a check from behind he took from Notre Dame’s Mike Voran.
“We came back hard in the second period and the power play was big there,” Oddo said. “Getting three goals in those five minutes was a huge momentum shift for us, and we got the boys going a little bit.”
Ohio State scored five goals in the second period, four on the power play.
Notre Dame scored 12:31 into the first as Mario Lucia notched his ninth tally of the campaign. Notre Dame played a solid first period up until Voran was whistled for a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct with 10 seconds left in the period.
In the second period, Ohio State scored three goals in a 2:03 span during the five-minute power play. Oddo got on the board first, as he scored off of a rebound from Anthony Greco 1:09 into the second. Oddo helped give the Buckeyes a 2-1 lead as he led a two-on-one, with Ryan Dzingel finishing for his 11th of the season. Ohio State took a 3-1 lead when Oddo fired a shot off Fighting Irish netminder Steven Summerhays which Alex Szczechura picked up and fired into the net.
“You’re playing well and then a major penalty takes you off your game for an extended period of time,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “I am a little disappointed and surprised about our penalty kill. First half [of the season], we were over 90 percent on our penalty kill and second half, it has dropped off.”
Jackson took a timeout after Ohio State’s third goal, which settled the Irish down. Notre Dame got back into the game as Kevin Lind and Bryan Rust scored 54 seconds apart in the middle of the period to knot the game at three.
“In a major situation, we needed to give them a blow, just to refocus, because we were all over the place,” Jackson said. “We weren’t doing a good job in front of our net and Summerhays gave up rebounds, which didn’t help.”
However, Ohio State found a way to respond.
Greco scored from the blue line with a slap shot which trickled through the five-hole of Summerhays with 3:55 left in the second for the eventual game-winner. Dzingel added an insurance goal 1:46 later for his team leading 12th of the year.
The Buckeyes cut off many of the Irish’s chances in the third period. Ohio State defender Justin DaSilva notched his first ever collegiate goal, as he lofted a 150-foot shot from his own blue line into the Notre Dame’s vacated net.
Thirty-two of Notre Dame’s 59 goals it has allowed this year have been in the second period of contests.
Ohio State jumped from sixth to a tie for fourth in the CCHA standings following losses by Ferris State and Alaska Friday evening. If Ohio State finishes the sweep over Notre Dame Saturday, the Buckeyes will reach at least a tie for third place in the conference standings.