Shelby Lum / Lantern photgrapher
The Ohio State men’s hockey team won two games at home this weekend against Lake Superior State. The Buckeyes posted a 6-1 win Saturday night at the Schottenstein Center following a 3-2 victory Friday.
Early leads proved to be instrumental in each of the victories. The Buckeyes jumped out to a 5-0 lead on Saturday and a 3-0 lead Friday.
OSU scored three goals in the first 4:02 of the game Saturday and a short-handed goal less than two minutes later.
The Buckeyes were led by junior forward Alex Szczechura, who scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season less than four minutes apart.
OSU coach Mark Osiecki said he was happy to see his players “on their toes” early and sticking together as a team after some bad luck last weekend.
“No doubt we had some things go our way,” Osiecki said. “The players just needed to stick together as a team. That was our mentality going into it.”
The Lakers (13-14-1, 8-11-1-1 CCHA) scored their only goal of the night with just 2:09 left in the first period, but the momentum from the score was not enough to close the gap with the Buckeyes.
Sophomore forward Ryan Dzingel scored his team-leading 10th goal of the season on an empty net after LSSU coach Jim Roque pulled his goalie with 11:32 remaining to make it 6-1 in the third period.
Roque said he was just trying to make something happen for his team and the play “pretty much summed up” his team’s weekend on the ice.
Redshirt freshman forward Riley Simpson and junior defenseman Curtis Gedig scored their second goals of the season in the first period Friday with the latter coming on a power play. Gedig said he “blacked out” when he got in front of the net but was happy to feel enough contact as he swung his stick that the puck went in the net.
OSU sophomore forward Tanner Fritz was credited with his fifth goal of the season after his shot deflected off the stick of Lake Superior State junior defenseman Zach Sternberg and found the back of the net. Fritz said it was nice to finally see a shot like that go his team’s way.
“Last weekend in the first game we hit four posts, and in the second one we got a goal disallowed right at the start,” Fritz said. “(That shot) was a little bit of puck luck for us.”
The score would remain 3-0 until Laker sophomore forward Chris Ciotti beat OSU senior goalie Brady Hjelle 48 seconds into the third period.
LSSU senior forward Ben Power scored the game’s final goal with 9:38 remaining in the game to make the score 3-2. Despite two face-offs near the OSU goal in the final 43 seconds of the game, Hjelle was able to keep the Lakers out of the net. His 34 saves helped the Buckeyes earn the victory and three points in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings.
The Buckeyes (10-11-5, 9-6-3-1 CCHA) improved to 4-3-2 at home after the games while the Lakers fell to 3-9-1 on the road. The series sweep of the Lakers earned OSU six points and puts them in a tie with Alaska for fifth in the CCHA standings.
OSU is set to host Notre Dame Friday night at 7:05 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.