COLUMBUS, Ohio — The No. 4 seed Ohio State Buckeyes kept their season alive Saturday in an elimination game by defeating the No. 5 seed Ferris State Bulldogs 3-1 as the Buckeyes were bolstered by goals from Ryan Dzingel, Max McCormick and Nick Oddo.
Ohio State now forces a deciding third game of the CCHA quarterfinals. The winner of tomorrow evening’s contest will advance to the semifinal round of the CCHA playoffs to face either Notre Dame or Michigan.
“We came out in the first period and played well,” Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki said. “We played more of our style. Last night, I thought we were a little tentative with the puck bounces not going our way.”
The Buckeyes shot early and often as they outshot Ferris State 12-5 in the first period and 38-28 for the contest. Ferris State goalie C.J. Motte gave his squad a chance in the game by making 35 saves.
“Ohio State played a good hockey game,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels. “I don’t think we were poor by any stretch of the imagination.”
For the second straight contest, Ferris State got on the board first just 3:31 into the game. Travis Ouellette scored his 11th of the season after he directed a shot from the point from Justin Buzzeo while Ohio State forward Darik Angeli was serving a holding penalty.
Ohio State knotted the game at one 13:22 into the first as Curtis Gedig quarterbacked a nice pass through the neutral zone to a streaking Dzingel, who found himself with a breakaway and converted by going top shelf on Motte.
“It was an individual play by Gedig,” Osiecki said. “He made a great read, a great pass and [Dzingel] was able to pick it up in stride. I think he caught it on his backhand and then a great shot by him. A lot of times, he doesn’t like to shoot, but we tell him when he shoots, good things happen.”
Ohio State took a 2-1 lead 14:30 into the second as McCormick took advantage of a Ferris State defensive-zone turnover and snuck a shot past Motte.
Unlike last evening, Ohio State held onto its 2-1 second-period lead.
“I don’t think there was any panic or anything like that,” Daniels said. “When you get a one-goal lead early, it is nice, but there is a long ways to go. Even when we were down a goal, it is in my mind, no different than last night.”
After a physical third period, Oddo put the game out of reach by scoring into the Bulldogs’ vacated net with 44 seconds remaining in the contest.
In four contests this season, the Bulldogs and Buckeyes have a split 2-2 record and have an even goal differential. With Sunday marking three straight evenings of hockey for the two clubs, stamina and conditioning could become an important factor.
“You have to focus after the game,” McCormick said. “Guys were stretching, cold tubbing and biking, getting that lactic acid out and getting your legs fresh for tomorrow. That is a big part of it for the next day.”
“I think you’ll see a lot of energy in the first period [Sunday] from both teams,” Daniels said. “And then I think it is going to settle into a tight checking kind of game. Both teams are pretty well conditioned and play hard. I do think tomorrow, it will be harder to generate offense the longer the game goes.”