MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Ohio State used a dominant four-goal second period and found a way to hold off a strong third period comeback attempt from Robert Morris to earn a sweep in the home-and-home series at 84 Lumber Arena on Saturday night.
From the outset, the Buckeyes executed a simple game plan with passion, keeping Colonial zone time to a minimum and outworking their opponent to an overwhelming majority of loose pucks.
“We talk a lot about puck control and puck possession and I really thought we did a good job of spreading them out early in the game and we got some confidence and the puck started going in for us,” said Buckeyes’ coach Steve Rohlik. “I thought our special teams were improved tonight, but in the third, we gave up one and didn’t score on another one we needed. But we found a way to win tonight and that’s the key.”
The teams skated through a scoreless first frame with the Buckeyes holding a 9-2 shot advantage. At the 11:50 mark it appeared that Colonials’ forward Cody Wydo had put his team in the lead when he guided a puck past Ohio State goaltender Matt Tomkins. However, the goal was waved off as forward Scott Jacklin had just a fraction of a second before been called for hooking, negating the would-be tally.
In the second period, the Buckeyes seemingly overwhelmed the Colonials.
Ohio State freshman Nick Schilkey opened the scoring just 17 seconds in with a rising wrister from the right circle. Just 1:01 later, Justin DaSilva doubled his team’s lead on a goal with assists going to Ryan Dzingel and Anthony Greco.
Then Buckeyes’ defenseman Drew Brevig unleashed a cannon blast from the point on the power play at 13:03 to put the Colonials in an even deeper hole. And for good measure, Ohio State sophomore forward Tyler Lundey converted a perfect pass from Sam Jardine for the fourth Buckeye goal of the period, beating Colonial goaltender Terry Shafer from the side. The lopsided period ended with the Buckeyes holding a 32-12 shot advantage.
The Colonials rallied in the final stanza with two quick goals.
The first came from Brandon Denham at 2:23 and then Colin South scored at 4:07 put Robert Morris back in the game with more than enough time left to play.
RMU was a different team in the third and had the Buckeyes backpedaling during several stretches that saw several close scoring chances get gobbled up by Tomkins, who stopped 24 out of 27 Robert Morris shots on the night.
Zac Lynch did manage to pull the Colonials even closer at 12:12 with assists from Wydo and defenseman Tyson Wilson. However, they could not find the equalizer in the last stages of the final 20 minutes despite a desperate push with Shafer pulled in favor of the extra attacker in the final minute.
“I loved our team in the third period,” said Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley. “They played hard, they competed, they got pucks to the net, and they picked it up defensively, but I don’t know what that was in the second period. We had focus issues and we took a period off and were very flat. I challenged our guys to go out there and have some pride in the front of their jerseys and they responded. We have to figure it out, that we have to play 60 minutes like that third period.
“Our systems are good enough, our players are good enough, but it’s a 60-minute hockey game.”