Tim Kubick / For The Lantern
The Ohio State men’s hockey team is looking to take care of Robert Morris University in a two-game, home-and-home series before facing Miami next week in what could be a fight for first place in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
This weekend, the Buckeyes, who are tied for second place in the conference with Notre Dame, will attempt to maintain their standing in the CCHA against the Colonials Friday night in Columbus before travelling to Pittsburgh for game two.
In this series, OSU will try to keep pace with first place Miami, which leads the Buckeyes and Notre Dame by one point in the CCHA standings.
Miami is home this weekend against eighth place Lake Superior State.
If the Buckeyes and the Redhawks both win their respective series, their meetings on Dec. 14-15 in Columbus will be a head-to-head battle for first place in the CCHA.
But OSU is trying not to look past Robert Morris.
OSU coach Mark Osiecki said it’s a lesson the team learned last season. All the team is focused on now is a victory.
“You want to go out there and win and it doesn’t matter who you’re playing,” Osiecki said.
While OSU will look at Robert Morris’ tendencies as a team and prepare accordingly, it might ultimately come down to how well the Buckeyes execute their own game plan.
“At the end of the day, all we are really focused on is us, and playing OSU hockey,” said sophomore forward Ryan Dzingel.
The series is OSU’s only series this season where the two games will be held in different venues. When asked if this would affect the team, Osiecki said his players grew up playing in travelling junior leagues and had experience with the format.
“They’re used to getting on a bus,” Osiecki said. “I don’t think it changes a thing, especially when you start at home.”
Senior goalie Brady Hjelle echoed the sentiment about players having been in junior leagues.
“It will be just like that, so it isn’t anything new to us,” Hjelle said.
Hjelle was recently named CCHA goaltender of the week for the second consecutive week after holding Michigan State to one goal on 54 shots last weekend. It is Hjelle’s third goaltender of the week award this season.
Both contests are set to begin at 7:05 p.m.