Ohio State men’s hockey coach Mark Osiecki wanted to let the team relax and focus a few days before the playoff series against Lake Superior State.
So he took them bowling.
Osiecki, in his first season as the Buckeyes’ coach, said he had done this with previous teams and likes the idea.
“It’s something I’ve done in the past,” Osiecki said. “We wanted to create team togetherness.”
The players, who say they had no idea Osiecki was going to do this, ended up bowling with the lower half of their hockey equipment on.
“He made us wear our bottom-half gear, so a lot of guys had on their shin guards and pants and stuff. So it was a little awkward, but it was a lot of fun,” junior goalie Cal Heeter said. “Everyone was laughing and having a good time.”
Senior forward Peter Boyd said he was surprised by the idea but thought the team did a good job of taking it in.
“I thought it was a great idea,” he said, “and the guys really responded well to it.”
The Buckeyes (15-16-4, 10-14-4 CCHA) have lost nine of their past 11 games. They will take on Lake Superior State (10-15-9, 8-12-8 CCHA) in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., in the first round of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament.
The best-of-three series will match up the ninth-seeded Buckeyes with the eighth-seeded Lakers.
When the teams played each other Feb. 18–19 in Columbus, Lake Superior State winning the first game in a shootout, and OSU winning the second one, 5-2.
But Boyd said he isn’t looking at what has happened this season, just what the team has ahead of it.
“Playoff hockey is a new season,” he said.
If the Buckeyes win the series against the Lakers, they could play Michigan, Notre Dame or Miami (Ohio), depending on who wins the other first-round series.
Friday’s game is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. Saturday’s and Sunday’s (if necessary) are scheduled for 7:05 p.m.