COLUMBUS, Ohio — Less than a week after sophomore goalie Collin Olson left the program, Ohio State’s starting goaltender Matt Tomkins went down with an apparent right leg injury four minutes into Saturday’s contest versus Niagara.
The Buckeyes rallied in front of freshman goalie Logan Davis, who made his collegiate debut and stymied the Purple Eagles by a 6-1 ledger to sweep Niagara for the weekend series.
Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik was unsure of the severity of Tomkins’ injury;, Davis currently stands as Ohio State’s only active goalie.
“Numbers don’t lie, we have one right now,” Rohlik said. “Depending on how many days with (Tomkins), but sometimes those are the cards you are dealt and we’ll deal with it. We have a great group and we will work extremely hard.”
The Buckeyes responded well to the adversity of losing their starting goalie. Ohio State allowed two shots in the first period and 16 for the contest.
“I wouldn’t expect anything different from our guys,” Rohlik said. “We challenged them from last night to be better and I think we would have played that way either way. I think our guys had it in their mindset, but certainly our guys stepped up.”
Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said he took no positives from his team’s performance Saturday. The Eagles have lost four in a row, and only have one win in eight contests.
“We didn’t compete, we didn’t show up as a team tonight,” Burkholder said. “I thought last night was a pretty even game and I thought we could do the same tonight. We had no jam to our game. We were lifeless.”
Juniors Ryan Dzingel and Max McCormick had two goals each to lead Ohio State. McCormick and Dzingel both scored in Friday’s contest, and McCormick has tallied five goals in his last three contests.
“Our focus as a team is to win one-on-one battles and out-compete the other team,” McCormick said. “That is what we focused on in practice, and we executed that well tonight.”
McCormick and Dzingel are both highly touted Ottawa prospects who struggled to score goals early in the season. They have transformed their games of late.
“Everybody was asking about them at the beginning of the year, how, ‘Jeez, your big three aren’t scoring,’ but that is why you have a team,” Rohlik said. “It was just a matter of time.”
Ohio State dominated one-on-one battles and the faceoff circle winning 69 percent of its faceoffs.
“That is pretty much the game, you are up against the guy next to you,” Burkholder said. “We got to expect you to at least get in there and compete and get a little dirty for us, and we didn’t have any jam to our game at all.”
The Buckeyes gave Davis early goal support, as McCormick and Dzingel each scored to give OSU a 2-0 first-period advantage.
Nick Schilkey and Matt Johnson scored 57 seconds apart early in the second period to give Ohio State a 4-0 advantage. Their goals chased Niagara starting goalie Adrian Ignagni, who allowed four goals on 17 shots against.
Dzingel scored a short-handed breakaway goal 6:44 into the second to give OSU a 5-0 lead.
“Coach challenged us after Friday night that we could bring more,” Dzingel said. “Friday night, we found a way to get it done, and tonight we played a full 60 minutes.”
Niagara got on the board 8:30 into the second when Kevin Patterson scored his first collegiate goal through the five-hole of Davis.
Ohio State got the goal back 15 minutes into the second when McCormick took a rebound in the slot and fired it past Niagara backup goalie Jackson Teichroeb.