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Men’s hockey: Ohio State’s NCAA tournament picture brighter with sweep at Wisconsin

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Ohio State players celebrate after a goal by junior forward Kevin Miller. Credit: Nick Clarkson | Lantern reporter

The No. 15 Ohio State men’s hockey team (20-10-6, 11-8-1-1) capped off its first 20-win season since 2008-09 with a sweep on the road at No. 16 Wisconsin (19-14-1, 12-8-0-0) this weekend. The two wins put the Buckeyes in a favorable spot for an NCAA tournament at-large bid heading into the Big Ten tournament.

Game 1

Two-point games from senior forward David Gust, senior defenseman Drew Brevig and sophomore forward Mason Jobst propelled the Buckeyes to a 5-1 thrashing of the Badgers in Game 1 of the series.

Sophomore forwards Dakota Joshua and Miguel Fidler also added a goal each in the victory, and senior goalkeeper Matt Tompkins chipped in with 28 saves.

Nearly nine minutes into the first period, OSU opened the game’s scoring as Brevig cashed in on a deflection for his second goal of the season. Minutes later, it was Brevig on the assist, as he fired a pass to a streaking Gust and the associate captain buried his 16th goal of the year into the top corner past Wisconsin freshman goaltender Jack Berry to put the visitors up 2-0 after the first 20 minutes.

Seven minutes into the second, it was the Scarlet and Gray again. Gust centered a backhand pass to a waiting Joshua and, despite finding himself in traffic, the forward one-timed a shot into the back of the net to give OSU a 3-0 advantage. A little over two minutes later, the Badgers got on the board as junior forward Matt Ustaski scored on a the powerplay to cut the Buckeye lead to two.

However, that would be the first and last time the home side scored on the night. With 5:38 remaining, Jobst’s drive to the net and shot was denied by Berry. The rebound, however, found the stick of Fidler, who tapped in his fourth goal of the season to make it a 4-1 OSU lead.

In the final frame, Jobst scored one of his own, as the Speedway, Indiana, native wristed a rocket into the net to put his side up 5-1 with his second point of the night and 49th of the season. After 60 minutes on the ice, the Scarlet and Gray easily took the opening game of the weekend series in dominating fashion.

Game 2

OSU ended the final weekend of the regular season with a 3-1 win to cap off a sweep on the road at the Kohl Center. The Buckeyes’ penalty kill sealed the victory for the visitors in the weekend finale, as Wisconsin capitalize just once in six attempts on the powerplay in the loss.

Jobst, junior forward Kevin Miller and sophomore forward Brendon Kearney all scored in the game for the Scarlet and Gray, as well as another great performance between the pipes from Tompkins, registering 27 saves.

Fresh off his final period goal and two-point night in Game One, Jobst returned to form with the first goal of the series finale Saturday night.

On the powerplay, the sophomore fired a shot from the slot past Berry to put OSU up 1-0 early in the first period, and eventually into the locker room. The goal marked Jobst’s 50th point of the regular season — the first such season by a Buckeye since R.J. Umberger in 2002-2003.

Ten minutes into the second frame, the Scarlet and Gray added to their lead. Gust carried the puck through the neutral zone before passing to Joshua on the right. Joshua fired a pass across the ice to Miller, who wristed his shot into the opposite side of the net and past Berry to double the Buckeye lead, 2-0, on his 11th goal of the season.

With a little over four minutes remaining in the second period, Wisconsin entered its third powerplay of the contest searching for an answer to their recent scoring drought — but it was OSU again adding to its lead.

Jobst carried the puck through neutral ice on a two-on-one before lifting a pinpoint saucer pass to a speeding Kearney, and the defender quickly gathered himself and buried just his second goal of the season to give the Buckeyes a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the final intermission of the regular season.

Out of the break, the Badgers searched for a way to get back into the crucial conference clash. With 15:24 remaining, the hosts received a glimmer of hope as Ustaski netted his second goal of the weekend to cut the OSU lead to two. However, after further review, the forward was called offsides on the play — nullifying the goal.

With a little over eight minutes remaining in the third, Wisconsin finally got on the board on its sixth powerplay of the night, as sophomore forward and captain Luke Kunin fired a rocket into the top corner to make it a 3-1 Scarlet and Gray lead.

Up Next

The Buckeyes now enter the Big Ten tournament as the No. 3 seed, where they will take on the No. 6 seeded Michigan State Spartans for a third time in three weeks. Puck drop from Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, on Thursday, March 16 is slated for either 4:30 or 8 p.m.

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