The University of Nebraska-Omaha beat OSU (2-5-1) 4-1 on Friday and 4-3 on Saturday at the Schottenstein Center.
“Same result,” OSU coach Steve Rohlik said of Saturday’s loss. “You have to play a little smarter with the lead. I thought we gave up a couple of easy goals on some breakdowns.”
The Buckeyes squandered a 3-1 lead in the first period of Saturday’s game, then couldn’t score on the power play during the waning moments of their eventual 4-3 loss.
With the Buckeyes’ net empty and extra attacker on, Nebraska-Omaha took a penalty with 1:21 remaining in regulation. The penalty put OSU on a two-man advantage.
Down 4-3 at the time, OSU couldn’t convert as Maverick sophomore goalie Kirk Thompson kicked aside the Buckeyes’ last-second shot and sealed Nebraska-Omaha’s road sweep.
The Buckeyes’ power play went one-for-nine on the weekend and has gone one-for-18 in its past four games.
OSU senior forward Darik Angeli scored the Buckeyes’ lone power play goal of the series on Saturday, but the goal, which gave OSU its 3-1 lead, was irrelevant by the end of the night.
Goals came early on Saturday as the Buckeyes and Mavericks combined for three goals on the first four shots of the game.
OSU’s offense showed good signs in the first period, but OSU sophomore forward Nick Schilkey said the team’s success was lost in the final score.
“Obviously a couple went in early on, but it kind of goes by the wayside by the end of the game when we can’t capitalize,” Schilkey said. “It wasn’t our best.”
OSU notched the first goal of the night at the 4:05 mark when Schilkey connected with senior forward Tanner Fritz to give Fritz his third goal of the season.
Less than a minute later Nebraska-Omaha freshman forward Avery Peterson scored his second of the series and first of the night. Peterson’s wrist shot from the left circle was nearly identical to the shot he beat OSU sophomore goalie Matt Tomkins with on Friday.
The Buckeyes regained the lead one-minute later when senior forward Chad Niddery put a backhander behind Thompson.
After scoring at nearly a goal-per-minute pace, the teams slowed until the 16:11 mark of period when Angeli and Peterson swapped goals within a two-minute span.
Angeli’s goal was OSU’s final cause for celebration. Nebraska-Omaha notched goals in the second and third periods to complete their two-goal comeback.
“We weren’t happy with the amount of times that their forwards got behind us,” OSU junior defenseman Sam Jardine said. “That’s just something they were trying to do, stretch us out once we got the lead.”
The Mavericks’ game-tying goal came after the Buckeyes had a couple good scoring chances and marked a turning point in the game, Rohlik said.
“Sometimes when you start pressing, instead of getting better you start to find yourself maybe not making those fluent plays,” Rohlik said. “That’s almost how we looked.”
Buckeye sophomore goalie Christian Frey finished with 26 saves including 12 in the third period.
Friday’s result brought a different type of frustration to the Buckeyes. OSU outshot Nebraska-Omaha 26-19 and led 40-22 in the faceoff circle.
“Our guys didn’t have a lot of zip tonight,” Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais said on Friday. “Ohio State had the better chances.”
The Buckeyes’ possession wasn’t enough to solve Maverick senior goalie Ryan Massa who made 25 saves for the Mavericks. OSU Senior forward Matt Johnson’s goal in the third period ruined what would have otherwise been a well-earned shutout.
Tomkins made 15 saves for the Buckeyes on Friday.
-Fritz went 25-12 in the face-off circle against Nebraska-Omaha
-OSU is having its worst start to its season since it went 2-5-1 to open the 2009-2010 season.
-The last time the Buckeyes were swept at home was Feb. 22-23, 2013 vs. Michigan