After dropping a 3-1 contest to Minnesota-Duluth Friday night, Ohio State rebounded with a 4-2 win over the No. 20 Bulldogs Saturday, a game that was uneven for both teams.
“I wasn’t really happy overall with how we played the game,” said Duluth coach Scott Sandelin. “I thought we had timely goals last night. You’re going to win different ways. You’re not going to be at your best some nights and you’re going to win some ugly games. As much as we want to win the games from start to finish playing pretty games — which is what we all want — it was just one of those weekends when they kind of had us off balance a little bit. They got a win and we got a win.”
The Buckeyes led the Bulldogs, 2-0, after the first period, but 3-2 after two. Through periods two and three, Duluth outshot OSU 27-14, in spite of getting into a little bit of penalty trouble.
“They came out and we didn’t,” said Sandelin. “We dug a hole and tried to get out of it. I thought we had a better second period, which gave ourselves a chance to get back in the game. Kind of shot ourselves with some penalties in the third and couldn’t find the equalizer.
“Had them back on their heels in the second period and maybe a little bit toward the end of the third. Bad penalties, untimely penalties. You can’t start the game that way.”
Alex Szczechura opened the scoring for the Buckeyes at 6:16 in the first, skating hard into the left circle at the right moment to take Nick Oddo’s cross-ice feed. Szczechura one-timed the puck past Duluth’s Aaron Crandall for his third goal of the season.
Then at 18:30, Tyler Lundey netted his second goal of the weekend when he scored nearly immediately after exiting the penalty box. Crandall was out behind the Duluth net to clear, backhanded the puck along the boards directly to Lundey, and couldn’t get back to the net in time to stop Lundey from scoring unassisted from the left post.
The Buckeyes made it 3-0 on Max McCormick’s goal at 1:04 in the second, but UMD’s Alex Iafallo answered just over a minute later to cut the OSU lead to two goals again. Although the Bulldogs had several power-play chances in the second, the goal that drew them to within one was Caleb Herbert’s goal through traffic at 16:38.
In spite out doubling up on the Buckeyes in shots in the third and pulling Crandall for the last minute of the game, the Bulldogs could not find that equalizer. Ryan Dzingel, though, found the empty net for OSU at 19:27 to cap the game.
“To be honest with you, I think we probably played a more complete game last night,” said Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik. “I thought we went in spurts tonight. I thought we were very good early. They kind of took over maybe in the middle there and we kind of righted the ship I guess a little bit.”
Minnesota-Duluth (4-3-1, 1-1-0 NCHC) is idle until returning to league play on the road against North Dakota Nov. 15-16. Next weekend, Ohio State (4-4-0, 0-0-0 Big Ten) hosts Niagara for two nonconference games.