Ohio State’s season is still alive.
No. 3 seed OSU needed a strong showing in the Big Ten Tournament to improve its odds of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, and the Buckeyes (21-10-6) are well on their way after downing No. 6 seed Michigan State 6-3 thanks to a third-period offensive explosion.
The Buckeyes opened the game on fire offensively. Sophomore forward Mason Jobst netted a goal just four minutes into the action on the team’s first shot of the game off the assist from senior forward Nick Schilkey and sophomore defenseman Tommy Parran. Just over a minute later, Schilkey scored a power-play goal off the assist from Jobst and Dakota Joshua. OSU had a 2-0 lead on its first three shots of the game.
As quickly as the Buckeyes got the lead, they gave it up. Michigan State scored three-unanswered goals off the sticks of senior forward Villiam Haag, junior forward Dylan Pavelek and freshman forward Sam Saliba. Spartans held a 3-2 lead after the first period.
The scoring slowed down in the second until OSU found the equalizer late in the period with a goal from sophomore forward Brendan Kearney. Kearney found space in front of the net and slotted a wrist shot over the shoulder of Michigan State senior goalkeeper Ed Minney.
The Buckeye offense exploded again at the beginning of the third. Senior forward David Gust gave OSU the lead with a power-play goal just 20 seconds into the period off a rebound from a Jobst shot. Gust found the back of the net again just over a minute later with a wrist shot off the assist from junior defenseman Janik Moser, giving the Buckeyes a 5-3 lead.
OSU got on the board yet again less than two minutes later, as freshman forward Tanner Laczynski scored off the assist from sophomore defenseman Tommy Parran and junior forward Matthew Weis. That goal marked the end of Minney’s day, as he was replaced by freshman goalkeeper John Lethemon for the remainder of the game.
The Buckeyes continued to attack, but did not add another goal, coasting to a 6-3 win.
With the win, OSU bolstered its NCAA Tournament resume and moves on to Friday’s Big Ten Tournament semifinals where it will take on No. 2 seed Wisconsin at 4:30 p.m.