Kathy Cubert / The Lantern
After nearly a month off, the Ohio State men’s hockey team kicked off 2010 with a sweep of conference foe Bowling Green.
Forward Sergio Somma said it would take the Buckeyes a good half-period to get back to game speed after the long layoff. His prediction held fairly true, as it took the Buckeyes exactly 14 minutes on Friday to find the net in their first game back.
From there the Buckeyes took off, scoring twice in the second and four times in the third en route to a 7-2 victory.
The offensive onslaught continued for the Buckeyes Saturday night. C.J. Severyn scored — his second goal of the weekend — just over six minutes into the first period. Freshman Devon Krogh also scored in the first and the Buckeyes headed into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead, an advantage they would not relinquish.
The Buckeyes went on to win Saturday night’s game 4-3 and complete the sweep of Bowling Green.
Forward John Albert led the way, collecting five assists on the weekend, and he now has a team-high 14 on the season. Albert and forward Hunter Bishop credited some of their on-ice success to spending time together off it.
“We’ve been pretty much doing everything you can think of together these past couple of weeks,” Albert said.
Their familiarity with each other was quite evident on the ice. Their line, which includes Severyn, accounted for four goals and 10 assists on the weekend.
Improved special teams
The special teams — or power play and penalty kill — were an area of concern as OSU headed into the second half of the season.
“We worked on our special teams every day in practice,” coach John Markell said. “All week we filmed it, watched it, filmed it, watched it.”
The Buckeyes showed much improvement, piling up five power play goals against Bowling Green.
The Buckeyes also locked down on the penalty kill, successfully killing nine of 10 penalties on the weekend.
“Our penalty kill worked in the end, which was also important,” Markell said. “Special teams are so important this time of year.”
Taking it up a notch
After the first half of the season fell short of expectations, the Buckeyes opened 2010 with a renewed vigor.
“I think guys definitely came back with an attitude in the second half. I don’t think anyone was happy with the way [the first half] went,” Bishop said. “I think guys came back to practice ready to step it up a notch and you could see it in practice.”
The Buckeyes carried their increased intensity into the games against Bowling Green and came away with the sweep, which the players acknowledged as big wins. “I think all CCHA games are must win games in the second half of the year. I think it’s really big to get up there in the top four in the league to get that first round bye for the playoffs.”
Ohio State will look to continue to gain ground in the standings on Jan. 22 and 23 in East Lansing against Michigan State.