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Despite recent struggles, men’s hockey team improving, coach says

With only four games remaining in the regular season, the Ohio State men’s hockey team has little time to make a push for the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament. OSU is currently the ninth seed with the top five seeds receiving a first round bye.

“It’s crunch time,” senior forward C.J. Severyn said. “These last four games could mean life or death for us.”

OSU coach Mark Osiecki said he likes the way his team is playing, though it lost six of its last seven games. He said he thinks the team hasn’t gotten the puck to slide its way.

“That’s the hard thing,” he said. “We don’t have that puck luck.”

Osiecki said it has been the same for his team all year. The pucks don’t seem to go its way, but he said that’s something the team has to overcome.

“You’ve got to have great will,” he said. “You’ve got to have a relentless part of your game.”

Though Osiecki said he thinks his team has been playing well, he said it’s not where the players expected to be at the beginning of the season.

“I’m not sure if it’s where we want to be,” he said, “but we’re certainly better.”

Four of the six losses — all of which were conference games — have been by two goals or fewer, so the team is usually within a couple of plays of winning.

“We’ve got to play a full 60 minutes of Buckeye hockey,” Severyn said. “That’s where we’re going to get our wins.”

The Buckeyes have two home series, of two games apiece, to round out the regular season: one against Lake Superior State and one against Ferris State.

This weekend’s series against Lake Superior State is senior weekend, a time when the senior players reflect on their four years — especially this one — at OSU.

One of the things the seniors have had to adjust to is a coaching change. Osiecki is in his first year as the men’s hockey coach, and it has been a transition for the seniors who had a different coach the previous three seasons.

“It’s a hard thing to go through as a senior,” forward Kyle Reed said, “but I’m happy with it.”

The Buckeyes (14-15-2, 9-13-2) have played well at home this season, going 7-5-1, and will look to continue to do that this weekend against Lake Superior State (10-12-8, 8-9-7).

The games are scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink.

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