For the first time since 2009, the Ohio State men’s hockey team is headed to the NCAA tournament.
Despite falling to the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten tournament semifinals, the Buckeyes (21-11-6) secured an at-large big in the West region of the 16-team field.
The Scarlet and Gray will travel to Fargo, North Dakota, to take on No. 2 overall seed Minnesota Duluth (25-6-7) in the first round, and will have a chance to advance to the final eight of the competition for the first time since the program reached its only Frozen Four during the 1997-1998 season.
Puck drop from Fargo is set for Friday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
While the Buckeyes might not have NCAA tournament experience, their coach, Steve Rohlik, does. Much of that experience was with OSUs first-round opponent.
Rohlik spent 10 seasons as an assistant at Minnesota Duluth from 2001 to 2010. He was hired along with the Bulldogs 17-year head coach Scott Sandelin, who has taken Duluth to seven NCAA appearances, two Frozen Fours and won one national championship. Rohlik was on the staff for two of those appearances and one Frozen Four. He became OSU’s associate head coach in 2011 when Duluth won the national championship.
“I know their team very well. They have as much speed as anybody in the country,” Rohlik said. “Top to bottom, there’s no secret why they’ve been No. 1 or 2 all year. They’ve done it because they’re that good.”
Jacob Myers contributed quotes.