Shelby Lum / Lantern photographer
The No. 3 seed Ohio State men’s ice hockey team lost Saturday to No. 2 seed Notre Dame, 3-1, in the CCHA tournament semifinals at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
The loss brought the Buckeyes’ (16-17-7) season to a close, while the Irish won against No. 4 seed Michigan, 3-1, on Sunday to take home the championship title.
Each team scored a goal in the opening period. OSU sophomore forward Ryan Dzingel received a pass from freshman forward Anthony Greco and scored his 16th goal of the season to put his team ahead, 1-0. Sophomore forward Tanner Fritz picked up the second assist on the play.
The Irish answered less than a minute later on a 3-on-1 breakaway following a Buckeye turnover.
OSU coach Mark Osiecki said a team like Notre Dame capitalizes on opponents’ mistakes more often than not.
“I just think that was a good response by a (veteran) team. The only frustrating thing there was that we turned the puck over, so it comes back to bite you a bit, but good teams find a way to respond and they did,” Osiecki said.
OSU senior goalie Brady Hjelle stood tall in the first period, as Notre Dame outshot OSU, 11-5, including eight straight attempts within the first five minutes of the game.
The second period went scoreless. The closest either team came to earning points came when OSU junior forward Alex Lippincott hit the post two minutes into the period. The officials signaled no goal on the ice and the call stood after the review showed the puck only partially crossed the goal line.
The game winner came 3:50 into the third when Notre Dame junior center T.J. Tynan scored a power-play goal off a face-off. Notre Dame sealed the victory with an empty netter with 1:10 remaining.
The Buckeyes were unable to cash in either of their two power-play opportunities. The Irish special teams went 1-for-3 on their chances.
OSU was outshot 44-17 in the contest. Hjelle had 41 saves, and Notre Dame junior goalie Steven Summerhays made 16 stops.
The limited number of attempts on net was an issue the Buckeyes battled through at multiple points this season.
“Coach had been stressing shooting the puck all year, and I don’t think it was trouble, I think it was a mindset. We could’ve thrown more pucks on net, but that’s how the game turned out and you can’t do anything now,” Dzingel said.
Despite coming short of the conference championship game, Osiecki said he was not disappointed in his team’s performance, on the night or on the season.
“We said to our guys after we were proud (to) get to this point, to get on this great stage, it’s been a while for our program,” Osiecki said. “I’m awfully proud of what they went through this year.”