The Ohio State men’s hockey team worked in reverse order this weekend. After beating Bowling Green, 3-2, on the road, the Buckeyes fell by the same score in Columbus the following night.
Both games followed a similar storyline: The Falcons (8-3-1, 5-1-0) took a one-goal lead into the last five minutes of regulation, then the teams began swapping goals.
On Saturday, the Buckeyes (3-6-1, 0-0-0) couldn’t complete their second consecutive late-game comeback as sophomore forward Nick Schilkey’s game-tying goal at 16:33 of the third period was answered less than a minute later.
Freshman forward Brandon Hawkins’ goal put OSU down, 3-2, with 2:40 remaining, an obstacle that was too steep to overcome and resulted in the Buckeyes’ fourth one-goal loss of the season.
“We’re OK with one-goal games,” OSU coach Steve Rohlik said. “Now you’ve got to learn as a team how to continue to win those (games). Right now we’re not finishing it.”
Saturday’s close loss drew attention to the Buckeyes’ abysmal second period, when the team was outshot 10-1 and put Bowling Green on the power play four times, including a five-on-three advantage during which the Falcons scored.
In total, OSU took 14 penalty minutes to Bowling Green’s eight. The Falcons’ power play went one-for-seven with nine shots.
“Seven penalties is way too many,” Rohlik said. “Any time you put a team on a power play that many times, you’re probably staring at some goals and we gave up the big one tonight.”
The number of OSU’s penalty minutes contrasted with Friday’s game when the Buckeyes were forced to kill only one penalty.
Despite Saturday’s penalties, senior forward Tanner Fritz said OSU’s biggest problem was being forced to play from behind.
“We have to start playing with the lead instead of always chasing,” Fritz said. “I think that’s something we have to continue to work on.”
Bowling Green opened the scoring midway through the first period Saturday and marked the seventh game in which OSU allowed the first goal.
Sophomore defenseman Josh Healey tied the game at 15:28 of the first period with a slap shot from the left point, but the Buckeyes were unable to build upon the goal before the Falcons struck again.
OSU’s best opportunity to take an advantage came two minutes after Healey’s goal when Fritz was awarded a penalty shot, but his attempt was denied.
OSU sophomore goalie Christian Frey made 27 saves on Saturday.
Friday’s game had a similar up-tempo pace. Playing in front of a record crowd of 5,353 fans, the Falcons held a 1-0 lead in a back-and-forth game that culminated in the final two minutes.
After OSU freshman forward Matt Weis tied the game 1-1 at 15:28 of the third period, junior forward Tyler Lundey gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the game with 1:34 remaining.
Lundey’s goal came from a rebound of a shot taken by OSU junior defenseman Craig Dalrymple, who played in his first game since sustaining an upper-body injury in January.
Bowling Green’s silenced crowd rattled its ice arena’s tin roof when the Falcons tied the game 18 seconds later, but the Buckeyes left the home fans stunned after junior forward Anthony Greco’s game-winner with 34 seconds remaining.
OSU sophomore goalie Matt Tomkins finished Friday with 25 saves.
The series split comes in advance of the Buckeyes’ first conference game of the season against Michigan State on Thursday.
“We start Big Ten next weekend,” Buckeye junior defenseman Sam Jardine said. “It’s a good time for us to reflect, but also start a new chapter of our season.”
The Buckeyes went 0-7 on the power play during the weekend and have gone one-for-25 in their last six games.
Dalrymple recorded one assist, six shots and eight blocks in his first series of the season.
Weis’ goal was the first of his collegiate career — he leads the Buckeyes’ freshmen with seven points