Ohio State men’s hockey (0-2) was swept by an in-state rival, No. 16 Bowling Green (2-0), in a home-and-home series on Friday and Saturday by scores of 6-3 and 2-0, respectively.
With 3,982 in attendance at the Schottenstein Center on Friday, Bowling Green got off to a quick start with two goals in the first 8:05 by sophomore Jakob Reichert and junior Kevin Dufour.
“You’ve got to understand how you’ve got to play,” OSU coach Steve Rohlik said. “You’ve got to step on the ice and be ready to go and understand that you’ve got to take care of the puck. Against very good hockey teams like Bowling Green, you can’t go out and find yourself behind like that. We’ve got to learn from it and become a better hockey club.”
OSU cut the lead in half when junior defenseman Josh Healey corralled the puck inside of the Buckeye zone and launched a pass up to junior forward David Gust at center ice, springing him on a breakaway.
Gust walked in on senior netminder Tommy Burke and beat him top-shelf over the glove hand to make it a 2-1 game with 5:03 left in the period.
However, the Falcons took control from there, hopping out to a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes thanks to goals from freshman John Schilling and senior Ben Murphy.
OSU junior captain Nick Schilkey made it 4-2 at the 2:06 mark of the third period, finishing off a tic-tac-toe passing play on the power play from sophomore Victor Bjorkung and senior captain Anthony Greco.
“I respect our team for coming out in the third and believing that we could go out there and win,” Rohlik said. “That was our conversation after the second period and we certainly played that way. You just can’t dig that deep of a hole and try to get out of it.”
OSU ended up 1-of-3 with the man advantage while Bowling Green was shut down on both of its power plays.
Bowling Green junior forward Matt Pohlkamp scored an empty net goal with 2:45 left in the game, taking the air out of the Schottenstein Center until Schilkey powered home a second goal just 14 seconds later.
Alas, the comeback was not meant to be as senior Mark Cooper scored another empty netter for the Falcons with 1:32 remaining, ending the scoring for the night.
“As a whole, I don’t know if we played our ‘A’ game,” senior captain Craig Dalrymple said. “We’ve stressed a lot on our (defensive) zone coverage and where we’re supposed to be in the past couple of weeks. We’ve got to be better.”
OSU junior goaltender Christian Frey made 29 saves on 35 shots while Burke had 27 stops on the 30 pucks sent his way.
A crowd of 3,022 for Game 2 at the BGSU Ice Arena in Bowling Green, Ohio, witnessed a tight battle throughout, with the game remaining scoreless until the third period.
Cooper scored his second goal of the weekend and the eventual game-winner with 9:55 left in the game, and Pohlkamp scored his second as well with 2:10 remaining.
Junior Matt Tomkins started in goal for OSU, keeping the game scoreless throughout with some tough saves. He ended up making 28 saves on 30 shots.
His counterpart in Chris Nell for Bowling Green stopped all 25 shots he faced.
Special teams played a big role, as the Scarlet and Gray went 0-of-6 on the power play while the Falcons went 0-of-3.
The Buckeyes have the week to get ready for another in-state rival, the No. 11 Miami (Ohio) RedHawks. Face-off on Friday at the Schottenstein Center is set for 7:05 p.m., while Saturday’s game is an 8:05 p.m. puck drop at the Goggin Ice Center in Oxford, Ohio.