Eric Beiersdorfer / Lantern photographer
The Ohio State men’s hockey team will look to continue its recent success against ranked-teams with a two-game series against No.11 Lake Superior State this weekend.
The No. 7 Buckeyes are on a seven-game winning streak that includes four-straight victories against top-15 teams. OSU swept then-No. 7 Michigan in Ann Arbor on Nov. 18-Nov. 19, and beat then-No.14 Northern Michigan in back-to-back games earlier in November.
OSU, 10-3-1 overall, is in second place in the CCHA behind Notre Dame with a 7-2-3-0 conference record. The Buckeyes are unbeaten in their last nine games.
Head Coach Mark Osiecki said his team has responded well to every situation that has been presented to them this season.
“I think that they have hockey sense, they’re good kids,” he said. “Whether it’s a little bit of praise, they handle that OK. From a negative standpoint, they handle that well.”
The Buckeyes will be coming off a 12 day break when the take the ice on Friday night. Osiecki said after its 6-5 win against Michigan he thought the time off would benefit his team.
“Having a week off, to be able to back to a normal week after a week off, I think it’ll be good. I think we’re a little banged up as well. It’s a good time for a little break,” he said.
Lake Superior, 10-4-2 overall, is in third place in the CCHA with a 6-3-1-1 conference mark. The Lakers are coming off a 5-2 victory against No. 2 Notre Dame on Nov. 26.
This weekend’s series will be a clash between two of the conference’s best defensive teams.
OSU and Lake Superior are second and third in scoring defense in the CCHA, giving up a mere 2.00 and 2.25 goals per game, respectively. The Buckeyes’ goals against average ranks fifth nationally.
Senior forward Danny Dries said his team’s defensive prowess comes from playing well as a team, and having senior goalie Cal Heeter in between the pipes.
“It doesn’t hurt having Cal back there, that’s for sure,” he said. “We’ve been playing pretty good team defense. We’re tightening down.”
The Buckeyes have been playing well on the offensive end of the ice as well. During their seven-game winning streak, OSU has outscored their opponents, 28-8.
Sophomore forward Chris Crane leads OSU with 15 points and Dries has a team-high eight goals. Freshman forward Ryan Dzingel and junior defenseman Devon Krogh are tied with Crane with a team-leading eight assists.
Heeter said he has enjoyed watching his team come together. The Buckeyes have 12 freshmen on the roster.
“We’re starting to click, guys have been playing great and working hard every night,” he said. “The more offense we play, the less saves I have to make, which I appreciate.”
OSU and Lake Superior will play at 7:05 p.m. Friday night and at 8:05 p.m. Saturday night.