Tim Kubick / For The Lantern
Members of the Ohio State men’s hockey team know now is not the time to start letting doubt creep in, even after dropping its last three games.
OSU only has one win in its last 10 games, a 3-1 victory at Ferris State on Jan. 11.
The team has suffered a lot of injuries this season, something OSU coach Mark Osiecki said “drastically” hurts the team’s chemistry.
“Our roster has been different every game because of it,” Osiecki said. “You don’t want to use that as an excuse at all, but it’s definitely affected it.”
Despite the team’s recent struggles, Osiecki stressed the importance of the team consistently maintaining a positive attitude, even if its play has not been consistent.
“They’ve got a great attitude,” Osiecki said. “They love coming to the rink. If (the Schottenstein Center) was open every day, they would be in here every day shooting pucks on the ice, using open ice. That’s the mentality.”
It is that mentality of working hard every day that could help the Buckeyes toward closing out the season on a high note, said senior goalie Brady Hjelle.
“All the cards are right there ready to go,” Hjelle said. “We are ready to go, we just got to stay positive and keep working hard every day.”
Sophomore forward Max McCormick said he agreed with Hjelle and said staying positive is key.
“We can’t get down on ourselves and hang our heads,” McCormick said. “We’ve got to have a good work ethic in practice and prepare for the weekend.”
OSU is scheduled to host Lake Superior State (13-12-1, 8-9-1-1 CCHA) this weekend at the Schottenstein Center. The series against the Lakers begins a stretch where OSU will play eight of its next 10 games in Columbus.
“It’ll be nice to be back home here,” Osiecki said. “At home you got a full roster and we gotta play with an attitude.”
Junior defenseman Curtis Gedig also said he is happy to be at home and playing in front of the home crowd, something the team has not had the chance to experience since before Christmas.
“I love the building, love the atmosphere,” Gedig said. “We don’t have to worry about catching up on school because we are traveling, so that is nice.”
Osiecki said the team is closer to 100 percent health than it has been since the beginning of the season, adding that he is looking forward to getting some of the players back to “knock the rust off.”
Even with the roster being nearly at full strength, he said his team does not have a lot of time to waste before the end of the regular season.
“Guys have to get to game speed quickly,” Osiecki said. “There’s not enough time to sit around and ease into it.”
Hjelle said winning games is a must for any team at this point in the season but is happy to have the majority of the remaining games at home, which he said helps with morale.
“It’s always a good time to start winning a lot of games,” Hjelle said. “It’s definitely nice being at home. It’s going to be huge for us.”
Osiecki said he and the rest of the coaching staff have not had to say much in practice to keep the team focused on what they need to do.
“I think the sky is still the limit,” he said. “Our guys have the right attitude. Now it is just a matter of getting some sort of comfort and chemistry going.”
Gedig agreed with Osiecki that the team just has to find a way to win.
“The excuses have got to come to an end,” Gedig said. “We are so close, and I believe with this team we are good enough and it will come for us.”