Mens Hockey No 5 Ohio State downs Mercyhurst to begin second half

Mens Hockey No 5 Ohio State downs Mercyhurst to begin second half

Ohio State men’s hockey players celebrate after a goal in the second period of the game against UMass on Oct. 19. Ohio State fell 6-3. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorFollowing Ohio State’s 27-day break, the Buckeyes returned to action with a sweep of the Mercyhurst Lakers by scores of 3-1 and 5-4.Ohio State (11-4-3, 4-2-2-2 Big Ten) dominated the Lakers (8-10-2, 6-5-1 Atlantic Hockey) on special teams and limited Mercyhurst’s shots throughout the series to secure the pair of wins.Game 1Ohio State won the first game of the series against Mercyhurst 3-1 including the first goal of the season by Ohio State junior defenseman Matt Miller. The teams failed to find the net in the first period despite a combined 25 shots between the two squads. Mercyhurst had an opportunity to score on the power play in the first 20 minutes, but the special teams of the Buckeyes held strong and killed the penalty. Scoring opened up midway through the second period as sophomore forward Austin Pooley scored for the second time this season. Pooley was assisted by senior forward Brendon Kearney and junior forward Sam McCormick. The goal came shortly after a failed power play attempt by the Buckeyes after Mercyhurst was called for having too many players on the ice. Overall, Ohio State converted on two of its five power play opportunities on the night and killed all six penalties it faced.Neither squad scored for the remainder of the period, and the score remained 1-0 in favor of the Buckeyes until Miller scored to increase the Buckeyes’ lead. Miller found the net during a five-on-three power play after two Lakers picked up penalties within a minute of each other. Senior forwards Dakota Joshua and Mason Jobst assisted on the goal.Mercyhurst scored with under a minute remaining in the game with an empty net to make it a one-score game, but the Buckeyes’ defense held strong and even added an additional empty net goal by Jobst with two seconds remaining to make the final 3-1. Jobst was assisted by Kearney, his second assist of the game. Redshirt senior goaltender Sean Romeo allowed one goal on 20 shots faced, with the one goal coming during a six-on-five. Through his first nine games he started this season, Romeo has allowed 18 goals and is averaging 2.19 goals allowed per game in addition to a .916 save percentage.Game 2In more of a high-scoring affair, Ohio State finished the sweep of the Lakers, winning 5-4 on a game-winning goal by senior defenseman Sasha Larocque.Mercyhurst took their first lead of the series midway through the first period, an even-strength goal by freshman forward Geoff Kitt. The Buckeyes responded just over four minutes later with a goal by junior forward Ronnie Hein, assisted by Larocque and junior forward Tanner Laczynski, his 10th of the season.The Buckeyes followed up the score with a power play goal by senior forward Freddy Gerard, his sixth goal of the season. Gerard was assisted by Hein and Laczynski, his 11th assist of the season.Saturday’s game was the 100th game played by Gerard for Ohio State. Through Saturday’s game, he has scored 18 goals, 26 assists and 44 points during his career at Ohio State.In the second period, Mercyhurst scored two unanswered goals to take the lead over Ohio State, one coming on the power play and the other at even strength just over three minutes in. Junior forward Carson Meyer responded just 20 seconds later to tie the game 3-3, assisted by Joshua and senior forward John Wiitala.With six minutes left in the second period, Mercyhurst found the net to once again take the lead, but less than four minutes later, Meyer once again scored to tie the game. With his two goals against Mercyhurst, Meyer now sits at six goals on the year, tied for No. 2 on the team with Hein. Ohio State scored on three of its four attempts on the power play Saturday night and allowed the Lakers to convert on one of their three attempts. Overall, the Buckeyes were three for nine in the series and killed all but one of the Laker’s nine tries with the man advantage.The tie was eventually broken by Larocque midway through the third period with his second goal of the season to give Ohio State the 5-4 lead, and from there the Buckeyes ran with the lead, limiting Mercyhurst to only seven shot attempts in the third period. Freshman forward Gustaf Westlund assisted on the goal, his 11th of the season.The five goals by the Buckeyes were tied for the most they’ve scored this season, also finding the net five times against Penn State on Nov. 24. The Buckeyes outshot the Lakers 94-47 in the series.Sophomore forward Tommy Nappier allowed four goals on 26 shots. So far this season, he has allowed 16 goals and has a .941 save percentage.The Buckeyes will stay at home to take on Michigan State on Jan. 4 and 5. The puck drops on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 8 p.m.

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