Mitch Andrews / Lantern Photographer
Win both games and Ohio State might get a first-round bye. If not, it might be heading back to Alaska.
That is the reality for the OSU men’s hockey team in its Thursday and Friday matchups against Ferris State.
With the Buckeyes (15-15-3, 10-13-3 CCHA) able to finish anywhere from fourth to ninth in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings, there will be a lot on the line. But coach Mark Osiecki isn’t looking at it that way.
“It’s kind of like the Green Bay Packers’ get-to-playoff mentality,” he said, referring to the team that was last to make the playoffs in the NFC and went on to win the Super Bowl. “Let’s keep on moving forward.”
The Buckeyes sit in ninth place and, to move up in the standings, will need to beat Ferris State twice and will need Western Michigan, Northern Michigan, University of Alaska and Lake Superior State to lose.
A team that wins a game receives three points toward the conference standings, and with only four points separating seeds five through nine, the potential for a bye is there.
The top five seeds in the CCHA receive a first-round bye, so getting six points is crucial.
“We have to win both games this weekend,” senior forward C.J. Severyn said. “Nothing less.”
If the team loses, it could possibly head back to Alaska for the CCHA Tournament.
The last time the Buckeyes made the more-than-3,000-mile trip to Alaska, they lost both games in the series, giving up six goals in the second game.
“It could mean … we get a first-round bye or fly back to Alaska,” Severyn said. “It’s an incentive to do well.”
Osiecki said his players are anxious to get back on the ice and will continue only to focus on what they can control.
“They are tired of practicing. … They are just ready to play,” he said. “We worry about ourselves and go from there.”
Senior forward Kyle Reed said he knows this series is do or die and the team has to be on top of its game.
“I just want to leave everything on the ice,” he said.
The Buckeyes, who have an unusual Thursday-Friday series, will have the chance to sit back and watch the games on Saturday to learn their CCHA Tournament fate.
If OSU receives a first-round bye it will begin CCHA Tournament play March 11-13. If not, it will play March 4-6.
This week’s series against Ferris State has the Buckeyes and Bulldogs facing off Thursday and Friday at the Schottenstein Center. Both games are scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m.