Eric Beiersdorfer / Lantern Photographer
The Ohio State ice hockey team has ascended to No. 2 in the country and travels to Bowling Green this weekend to play a two-game series with the Falcons.
OSU is not normally known for being a hockey power, but a 14-4-1 start has coach Mark Osiecki and his players being recognized as one of the elite squads in the nation.
Despite the success, Osiecki said he isn’t letting recognition go to his team’s head.
“We try to bring them down to earth as much as we can and really humble them,” Osiecki said. “That’s easy to do on film because you can’t play a perfect game.”
But Osiecki said he doesn’t want his team to ignore the success either.
“We want our guys to embrace it as well,” Osiecki said. “This is the level that we’re going to be at and this is the level we are going to try to maintain … We have to embrace that and understand this feeling and how to handle it.”
Freshman forward Nick Oddo said sometimes it’s hard to stay humble.
“It is tough,” Oddo said. “But you got to stay humble. I mean every team is a good team we play. It’s very competitive. We just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing and hopefully it’ll work out for us.”
The team is coming off a Dec. 30, 4-2 victory against Robert Morris in Pittsburgh, which was their first game since Dec. 10.
“It was sloppy,” Oseicki said. “You knew that both teams would have a lot of mistakes coming off breaks.
“The good sign is we did win and we didn’t play well. That’s a good sign for a team.”
Sophomore forward Travis Statchuk said despite the break, he didn’t want to make any excuses for the team not being in sync.
“We did have a long break, but we don’t want to use that as an excuse,” Statchuk said. “We just want to get back to the mindset and get back to the simple things.”
Oseicki said he hammered the team in the film session and fully expects his team to be back in the swing of things against Bowling Green.
“We have to get back to our work habits, our competitive level has to go up and we have to take care of pucks,” Oseicki said. “It has nothing to do with anything else.”
The Bowling Green — OSU matchup used to be a fierce in-state rivalry in hockey. It’s not as prominent as it once was, but the players are ready to compete.
“I just know (Bowling Green) has a great history with the program,” Oddo said. “I’m excited to play.”