The Ohio State men’s hockey team (11-4-4) found the back of the net four times in the first period en route to a 6-1 blowout victory over visiting Arizona State (7-17-1).
Senior forward and captain Nick Schilkey netted two goals for the Buckeyes, while sophomore forward Miguel Fidler, junior forward Kevin Miller, senior forward David Gust and freshman forward Ronnie Hein all added a goal a piece.
The win marks the third in its last five games for OSU, who now own a 4-3-1 record at the Schottenstein Center this season.
“Anytime you can go out there and score six goals, you’re doing something right,” coach Steve Rohlik said. “I was real happy with our start. It’s nice to go out there and kind of play downhill right away.”
Gust opened the scoring for OSU just five minutes into the first period for his 12th of the year, with assists from junior forward Luke Stork and freshman forward Tanner Laczynski.
Two minutes later, the Buckeyes capitalized on a 5-on-3 advantage as sophomore forward Mason Jobst and redshirt junior defenseman Matt Joyaux found Schilkey, who buried his 16th of the year on the power play to double the Buckeye lead.
The Buckeyes, who were ranked second in the nation for first-period goals coming into the matchup, are now 12-2-2 when scoring first this season.
Fidler and Miller added goals before the horn, and the Buckeyes entered the first intermission with a comfortable 4-0 lead.
The key statistic of the night for the Scarlet & Grey was its success on power plays, racking up three goals on five attempts. Rohlik said that his guys were in position to score on these opportunities, and that winning the fight on the man-advantage proved to be crucial once again.
“It’s nice to win the special teams battle,” Rohlik said. “Most times when you win the special teams war, you win the game — and tonight we came out on top of that.”
Senior goalie Christian Frey quietly notched 35 saves on the night between the pipes for OSU. However, the Sun Devils’ got on the board with 11:32 left in the second period when freshman defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk powered a blueline slapshot past Frey on the Arizona State power play.
Despite that, Rohlik praised the play of his goalie in the game, and said that he is a vital piece to the success of this team.
“He’s our best player. He makes everyone look a lot better when he’s making those saves,” Rohlik said. “When you give up that many uneven rushes, and that many chances, it’s nice to have a guy back there that’s in the zone. But we don’t need to put him on the spot like that like we did tonight.”
With 4:09 left in the second, Gust centered a pass to Schilkey, and the captain wristed a one-timer past substitute goalie Joey Daccord to extend the Buckeye lead on the power play with his second of the night. It was his 17th of the season and fourth in his last two games.
Even on shots heading into the third and final period, ASU had opportunities to get back into the game, but OSU cushioned its lead.
Hein added his name to the score sheet with 3:07 left in the period. Sophomore forward Freddy Gerard and freshman defenseman Gordi Meyer recorded assists on the goal.
Schilkey had the chance to record his second hat trick of the season on a shot in the third period, but saw his opportunity denied by the crossbar. The senior said that although he didn’t his third goal of the game, the result is what is truly important.
“I had plenty of chances (to get a third goal), but any time you score two goals, it’s good — and to put six up there as a team was great,” Schilkey said.
With another matchup with the Sun Devils on tap for Saturday, Gust said that he anticipates Arizona State will bring more physicality to the second game right out of the gate.
“They’re a big physical team, so I think they’re going to bring that (toughness) for a full 60 (minutes) tomorrow,” he said.
Puck drop from the Schottenstein Center for the second clash of this series is set for 2 p.m.