No. 7 Buckeyes Skate to 5-1 Victory over Spartans
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Behind seven points from the line of Freddy Gerard, Ronnie Hein and Tanner Laczynzki, the No. 7-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team defeated Michigan State, 5-1, Friday in Value City Arena. The Buckeyes led 1-0 after the first. The Spartans tied the game early in the second but Ohio State scored twice before the end of the period for a 3-1 lead and added two more goals in the third for the victory.
Gerard had a goal and two assist for three points, while Hein had a goal and an assist and Laczynski had two helpers. Defenseman Matt Miller also posted a goal and an assist in the win. Goalie Tommy Nappier made 21 saves for his 12th victory of the year.
Ohio State improves to 20-8-5, its third straight 20-win season. The Buckeyes, who clinched the Big Ten regular season title last week, are 13-6-4-3 in league play.
The Buckeyes and Spartans (11-17-5, 7-12-4-2 B1G) close the regular season at 5 p.m. Saturday in Value City Arena. The Buckeye senior class will be recognized pregame. Postgame, a Big Ten championship banner ceremony will be held.
Quoting Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik
On putting together a complete game
“I don’t think we’ve played a complete game. You saw how we started the second period. We had three bad giveaways in a row and it ended up costing us a goal. For the most part I do feel as though we played a solid game tonight. We scored some big goals out there against a great hockey team.”
On resetting after clinching the B1G title last weekend
“Michigan State has the top line in the country, one of the top power plays in the country and they can beat anyone on any given night. That was my concern. Win or lose on the weekend we come ready to prepare on Monday for the next weekend. Our only concern is playing our game.”
Ohio State 5, Michigan State 1
In the first … The lone goal of the first came at 7:18. Miguel Fidler stole the puck from a Spartan in the MSU zone and passed to Eugene Fadyeyev, whose shot beat the MSU goalie glove side. Ohio State outshot Michigan State, 7-5, in the period.
In the second … The Spartans tied the game at 1 just 1:21 into the second period, as Tommy Apap scored on a backhand following a turnover in the Buckeye zone. At 13:48 Matt Miller one-timed a pass from Tanner Laczynski top corner for a 2-1 Ohio State lead, with Freddy Gerard also assisting. Gerard scored a goal of his own at 16:32. Laczynski carried into the zone and set up Hein for a one-timer. His shot was blocked, but Hein got the rebound to Gerard, who carried through the zone and scored through a screen. The teams combined for 26 shots in the period, with Ohio State ahead, 16-10.
In the third … At 1:51 of the third Hein extended the Buckeye lead to 4-1. Sasha Larocque kept the puck in to Freddy Gerard in front of the crease and it went back to Hein for a one-timer. John Wiitala capped the scoring at 5:31. Miller caught him with a long pass and he drove the net, putting a chip shot top corner. Ohio State had nine shots in the period and Tommy Nappier stopped all seven MSU attempts, including three on a power play midway through the period.
Shots … The Buckeyes outshot the Spartans, 32-22, in the game. Nappier made 21 saves in all 60 minutes for Ohio State. Drew DeRidder had 27 saves in 60 minutes for the Spartans. Ohio State blocked 21 shots, led by Laczynski with three and Larocque, Wyatt Ege, Fidler, Brendon Kearney, Miller and Carson Meyer with two each.
Special Teams … The Buckeyes were 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill in the game.
Buckeye This and That … Ohio State hit the 20-win mark for the third year in a row, the first time with three in a row since a four-year stretch from 2002-05 … Laczynski is second on the team with 28 points, sharing the lead with 19 assists; it was his ninth multiple-point game of the year and his fourth in his last six games … Gerard had his third career three-point game and his second this season … Hein is second on the team with 11 goals and now has six multiple-point games this season … Miller, who has a point in 10 of the last 12 games, leads the Buckeye defensemen with 21 points; he has a team-high four gamewinning goals this season … Fadyeyev’s goal was his first of the season and first since Oct. 27, 2017 vs. Robert Morris … seven Buckeyes have 20+ points this year … Nappier is in the Top 3 in the NCAA in winning percentage (12-2-3, .794), goals-against average (1.78) and save percentage (.937).