After a difficult start to the season, the Ohio State men’s hockey team (4-5-0) had reason to celebrate this weekend, sweeping a two-game series against the University of Alabama-Huntsville (1-8-1).
In the second game of the series, senior forward John Albert recorded his 100th career point as a Buckeye when he assisted freshman forward Chris Crane’s goal with 6:51 remaining in the third period. Albert is the 52nd OSU player to top the century mark, the first since Tom Fritsche accomplished the feat in 2008.
“It’s an elite group of hockey players in that club and it’s an honor to be a part of it,” Albert said. “It was in the back of my mind that I was getting close.”
OSU won the first game Friday, 6-2, and the second game Saturday, 5-1. The two wins could not have come at a better time for the Buckeyes, allowing the team to shake off its early-season disappointments. Through the first seven games, OSU managed only two wins as players struggled to adjust to first-year coach Mark Osiecki’s new system.
Osiecki hopes the two wins over UAH helped the team take a step in the right direction.
“We were telling our players that they have to find ways to play back-to-back games,” he said. “Big picture, the only way you can have success is by winning two games in a row. It’s kind of a small step we made there.”
Offensively, OSU had its best two-game stretch of the season, outscoring UAH 11-3. The Buckeyes never trailed in the series, and 10 players scored goals for the Buckeyes.
“Everyone chipped in offensively and it’s one good thing to see guys get on the score sheet,” senior forward C.J. Severyn said.
OSU also played well defensively throughout the series, holding UAH to a mere 36 shots and three goals in both games combined. Osiecki said the OSU defensive success was a result of the offense taking care of the puck.
“I think this deserves a hats off to the forwards,” Osiecki said. “If we protect the puck and get it in deep, we prevent the rush coming back to our defense.”
OSU returns to conference play for a two-game series with Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich. The series begins at 6:35 p.m. Friday followed by a game Saturday at 7:05 p.m.