Coming off of its bye week, the Ohio State men’s hockey team (1-7) is looking for consecutive wins for the first time this season after notching win No. 1 its last time out against Mercyhurst on Oct. 31.
Standing in its way is Canisius College (2-5, 2-2 Atlantic Hockey Association), currently on a two-game losing streak.
After losing the first game in their series against Mercyhurst in close fashion, the Buckeyes came out stronger and hungrier in Game 2, a mentality that senior captain Anthony Greco said he hopes will continue this weekend.
“I think we had a good effort that Saturday night,” Greco said. “I think it’s just important to repeat that. We’ve shown up and had a good couple days of practice. It’s just bringing that same attitude.”
A round of shots
The Scarlet and Gray are coming off of a game against Mercyhurst in which they scored a season-high five goals.
During that weekend, OSU put up 92 shots on the Lakers over the two games, a trend that coach Steve Rohlik wants to continue.
“You can’t score goals unless you put pucks to the net and unless you get traffic at the net,” Rohlik said. “Those are things that we’ve been harping on for a couple of weeks. Our guys understand it and it’s up to them to go out and do it.”
Both the Buckeyes and the Golden Griffins are struggling in the goals department this season, as OSU is averaging 2.1 goals per game while Canisius is ranked 56th (out of 60 teams) in the country in goal production with 1.8.
The amount of shots that OSU wants to generate this weekend theoretically leads to more lamp-lighting.
“We want to get pucks to the net,” Greco said. “That’s the only way that you’re going to score and we need to score goals to win games. We’ve had a couple games now where we’ve only scored one or no goals at all so we need to shoot the puck as much as possible.”
The Scarlet and Gray have scored three goals or more three times this season while the Golden Griffins have done it twice, with both of those games resulting in wins.
On the defensive end of things, OSU players are relatively pleased. The 3.1 goals per game that OSU is allowing is not great, but it has been keeping the team in games to this point.
“We’ve been pretty solid,” junior defenseman Drew Brevig said. “Our whole group has been playing pretty well back there. Our forwards have been helping out and our goalies are playing well.”
Bye week benefits
Rohlik and his staff are now finally able to say something that they haven’t said in a long time: They are healthy.
Not only does this mean that Rohlik has depth lineup-wise, but it also provides an added level of competition for playing time when the weekend rolls around.
“We’ve got everyone available except for (freshman defenseman) Tyler Nanne right now,” Rohlik said. “We haven’t been able to say that a lot. That’s been a good thing. I think that’s translated into competition in practice. Anytime you’ve got to compete in practice, you’re going to make guys better.”
The bye week was beneficial on the player side of things too.
“It was actually kind of nice,” Greco said. “From my standpoint, I think it was nice to get a little bit of a break. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs already so it was nice to get that win on Saturday and have a break as long as we show up this weekend and bring it again.”
A “Golden” history and bon voyage
- The Buckeyes and Golden Griffins are meeting for the third straight year.
- OSU is 3-0-1 all-time against Canisius with the series dating back to Nov. 15, 2013.
- These are the final home games for OSU until Jan. 15 against No. 12 Michigan.
Puck drop between the Buckeyes and the Golden Griffins is set for 7 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Schottenstein Center.