COLUMBUS, Ohio – After falling behind 2-0 2:51 into the first, Ohio State pulled its starting goaltender and rallied with five goals in a row to defeat Robert Morris, 5-3, Friday evening.
Ohio State earned its first win of the season while Robert Morris remains winless at 0-3-1. The Colonials came into Friday’s contest with a perfect 3-0 record all time in Columbus.
“We started out very well, moving our feet, competing down low and winning battles and getting pucks to the net,” RMU coach Derek Schooley said. “And then we lost our focus. We got into some penalty trouble, which changed the momentum of the first period.”
Ohio State’s win marked Steve Rohlik’s first as a collegiate head coach.
“This was never about me, this was about the program,” Rohlik said. “This is about all the guys in the room.”
The Buckeyes’ fourth line of Matt Johnson, Nick Oddo and Travis Statchuk was responsible for three of OSU’s five goals. The trio tallied eight points in Friday’s contest.
Greg Gibson and Cody Wydo scored from the crease to put RMU up 2-0 2:51 into the contest. After only making one save on the first three shots he faced, sophomore goalie Collin Olson was pulled for Matt Tomkins.
“It didn’t start out pretty tonight,” Rohlik said. “What I liked about our team tonight was they weren’t going to let it happen again. We competed hard and bounced back, and good teams find a way to win.”
Tomkins went on to make 26 saves for his first collegiate goal of the season.
“He gave a good effort all the way through,” Rohlik said of Tomkins’ 57-minute performance. “That is why it is a team effort. It doesn’t fall on Ollie, it wasn’t his night to start, and that is why you have two goalies dressed. Matty came in and did the job they’re both capable of doing.”
All five of Ohio State’s goals were scored within several feet of the crease.
“We have been working on that all week to drive the net,” Oddo said. “Getting bodies around the net and getting second chance opportunities and it worked out for us tonight.”
“They were determined to get to the net,” Schooley said. “We didn’t get sticks and didn’t mark men very well.”
Ohio State rallied with goals from Johnson and Darik Angeli in the final 8:43 of the first to knot the game at two through the first period.
Oddo scored his first of two goals 2:55 into the second for the eventual game-winner when he slipped a shot past the glove of RMU goalie Terry Shafer.
Anthony Greco scored his first of the season for OSU less than three minutes later when his cross-crease pass went off the skate of an RMU defender.
Oddo added a second goal 10:42 into the second when his shot slipped through the five hole of Shafter to give OSU the 5-2 advantage.
After the second intermission, Schooley replaced Shafer with freshman Brandon Lane, who made his first collegiate appearance.
“Our goaltenders gave up five goals and you can’t pin any of them on them,” Schooley said.
Defender Chase Golightly added a power-play goal late in the third period for RMU.
The Buckeyes and Colonials will rematch at RMU Saturday evening.