Shelby Lum / Lantern photographer
The Ohio State men’s ice hockey team concluded its weekend series against Alaska with a 3-1 win Saturday night. The Buckeyes earned a series split with the Nanooks after dropping a 6-1 decision Friday.
The split kept OSU in fifth place of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings, one spot ahead of the Nanooks. A fifth-place finish will earn them a bye in the CCHA Tournament, which starts March 8.
OSU (12-12-6, 11-7-4-1 CCHA) found the net first in both games, with junior forward Alex Szczechura providing the Buckeyes with their only goal Friday night in the first period and sophomore forward Tanner Fritz earning a power-play goal in the second period Saturday.
Alaska (13-11-4, 11-10-3-1 CCHA) tied the game in the final minute of the second period Saturday as senior Andy Taranto tallied his tenth goal of the season.
The teams would remain tied until OSU scored two goals less than two minutes apart in the final period as sophomore forwards Darik Angeli and Ryan Dzingel found the net. Dzingel’s goal was his team-leading 13th of the season and he continues to lead the team with 28 points on the year.
On Friday, though, the Buckeyes’ offensive firepower was limited.
Despite gaining the early advantage on Szczechura’s seventh goal of the season, OSU struggled to build off that early momentum. The Nanooks’ Colton Beck scored the first of his three goals in the game late in the first period to tie the game at one. Alaska scored three times in the second period, as Beck added his second of the night with just less than 10 minutes to play in the stanza. The junior forward’s third goal of the night came with less than two minutes remaining in the contest and was the final score of the game.
Senior goalie Brady Hjelle bounced back in the second game of the weekend after giving up four goals and being pulled in favor of freshman Collin Olson Friday. He stopped 26 shots from the Nanooks on Saturday, 12 of which came in the final stanza to earn his 10th win of the season.
OSU’s win on Saturday was its fourth in its last six games, pushing the team’s road record to 7-7-3. Alaska moved to 7-6-1 at home after losing three out of its last four games.
OSU is set to host No. 6 Western Michigan Friday at 7:05 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.