Eric Beiersdorfer / Lantern photographer
For the second-straight night Saturday, the Ohio State men’s hockey team did what they have been doing consistently over the past month: win.
The No. 7 Buckeyes defeated No. 11 Lake Superior State, 2-1, Saturday in the second game of a two-game set after beating the Lakers, 5-2, on Friday night. With the win, OSU extended its winning streak to nine games and unbeaten streak to 11 games. The team has not lost since a 3-0 shutout at Michigan State on Oct. 20.
Sophomore forward Chris Crane scored less than seven minutes into the third period to break a 1-1 tie and the Buckeyes held on for the win. Freshman forward Nick Oddo also tallied a goal in the victory, and senior goalie Cal Heeter had 29 saves in the contest.
“We did some very good things against a good team,” OSU coach Mark Osiecki said. “We did the little things well — we are always concerned with finding a way to get better.”
After scoring two goals and outshooting Lake Superior, 17-4, in the first period on Friday night, the Buckeyes got off to a slower start Saturday.
The game was scoreless after 20 minutes of play, and remained that way until the Lakers put one past Heeter at the 9:55 mark in the second period.
Freshman forward Chris Ciotti got the puck and moved from left to right in the Buckeyes’ zone and fired a shot to give Lake Superior the lead.
OSU responded immediately.
Just 37 seconds later, Oddo scored from the post after senior defenseman Sean Duddy’s shot bounced off the goalie and freshman forward Tanner Fritz pushed the puck into the crease.
“The team went out looking to find some energy after (Lake Superior) scored that first goal. We were lucky, getting some good bounces down in their zone and tying the game up,” Oddo said. “All of us were gunning to get the goal and it didn’t matter who got it. We were all happy. It was a good feeling.”
The game would remain tied until Crane put the Buckeyes on top for good in the final period.
Freshman forward Ryan Dzingel brought the puck into Lake Superior’s zone and found sophomore forward Alex Lippincott, who fired a shot. Lakers sophomore goalie Kevin Murdock was not able to control it, and Crane got the rebound goal, his ninth score of the season.
Coming from behind to take a lead is something OSU has embraced this season.
“It goes back to our mentality,” Crane said. “We were down, 1-0, (Saturday) and the coaches told us to keep playing Ohio State hockey no matter what. In the end I think we just wore down Lake Superior and came out on top.”
The Lakers had the puck in the Buckeye’s zone late after they pulled their goalie, and had a couple good chances, but Heeter and the OSU defense made multiple stops, preserving the 2-1 win.
With the victory, the Buckeyes improved to 12-3-1 on the year, 9-2-1 in the CCHA. OSU now has a five-point lead in the conference over second-place Notre Dame.
Lake Superior dropped to 10-6-2 overall with a 6-5-1 conference mark.
OSU remains hungry, even though they sit atop the conference, are first in the PairWise rankings, which determine the NCAA tournament field, and have the No. 1 ranking in the RPI.
“Coaches talk about never being satisfied with where we’re at,” said sophomore defenseman Curtis Gedig. “We just keep working and trying to get better.”
The Buckeyes will host Miami (Ohio) at 7:05 p.m. Sunday at the Schottenstein Center and then travel to Oxford for the second of a two-game series the following night.