Lantern file photo
Members of the Ohio State men’s ice hockey team came into their series against Notre Dame wanting to start the postseason fresh after ending the regular season on a sour note. The end result of two games against the Fighting Irish, however, was more of the same of what had transpired over the past two months.
Notre Dame (19-16-3) swept OSU (15-15-5) in a best-of-three series in the first round of the CCHA tournament. The No. 9 seed Buckeyes fell to the No. 8 seed Fighting Irish, 4-2, Saturday night, following a 2-0 loss Friday.
OSU’s season is over. The Buckeyes, who rose to a No. 2 national ranking in early January, will miss out on the NCAA Tournament, finishing the year on a 1-11-4 skid.
OSU senior goalie Cal Heeter made 52 saves during the two games. Buckeye seniors, defenseman Sean Duddy and forward Danny Dries, each scored in Saturday’s loss.
The Buckeyes took a rare early lead on Saturday, scoring twice in the game’s opening period. OSU had last led after 20 minutes on Feb. 11 in a 4-3 win at Western Michigan.
Duddy notched his second-career goal at 4:35 in the first stanza. OSU junior forward Alex Carlson won a faceoff and sent the puck to Duddy at the point, whose wrist shot found the back of the net. Notre Dame answered at 9:20, but Dries got the lead back for the Buckeyes with a power-play goal at 17:19.
Notre Dame rallied with three unanswered goals on way to their 4-2 victory.
OSU had chances to tie the game in the third period, but failed to convert on two power plays.
Friday night, the Fighting Irish took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal at 9:08. The Buckeyes had opportunities to score, but went 0-2 on the power play and Notre Dame led, 1-0, after twenty minutes.
In the second stanza, Notre Dame converted on the power play at 2:50 extending their lead to 2-0.
OSU trailed, 2-0, for the remainder of the game. The Buckeyes failed to execute on three more power plays in the defeat.
The series capped the careers of four Buckeye seniors — Dries, Duddy, Heeter and forward Cory Schneider.
Heeter finishes third OSU history in career goals-against average (2.58) and career save percentage (.915). His .918 save percentage this season is the fifth-best in the history of OSU.
OSU sophomore forward Chris Crane and freshman forward Ryan Dzingel end the year tied for the team lead with 24 points.