After a deflating 2-1 loss to Mercyhurst on Friday night in front of 2,948 fans at the Schottenstein Center, it would’ve been more than easy for the Ohio State men’s hockey team to come out flat the next afternoon against the Lakers.
But instead, OSU rebounded in high-scoring fashion, topping Mercyhurst 5-1 for its first win of the season.
In Game 1, the Buckeyes (1-7) outshot Mercyhurst (6-4) 40-16 but were unable to find the back of the net more than once as sophomore Brandon Wildung posted up a brick wall in front of his goal, aided by his post a few times throughout the night as well.
OSU junior captain Nick Schilkey got the ball rolling 10:19 into the first period with a wrist shot that beat Wildung on the low blocker side for his third goal of the season assisted by fellow junior Drew Brevig.
The Lakers tied the game up 58 seconds into the middle frame as freshman forward Derek Barach took a redirected centering feed from his classmate Taylor Best, burying it top shelf over the blocker of OSU junior netminder Christian Frey for his fourth tally of the year.
Frey made 14 saves on the evening while Wildung racked up 39 saves.
The only senior forward for Mercyhurst, Kyle Cook, buried a shorthanded goal with 4:46 left in the second period, proving to be the difference maker as the Lakers held on for the win.
Both OSU and Mercyhurst went 0-of-4 on the power play.
“You can’t win scoring one goal,” OSU coach Steve Rohlik said. “Give them credit. They did what they needed to do to come in and win a hockey game.”
The Buckeyes came out firing on all cylinders in Game 2 in front of 2,737 at the Schottenstein Center with the same mentality that if they kept shooting and banging away, the goals would come.
That they did.
Schilkey led the way with two goals and an assist on a game-high eight shots. Sophomore forwards Luke Stork and Matthew Weis, as well as freshman forward John Wiitala all scored in the 5-1 OSU win.
Schilkey now leads the team in scoring with five goals and three assists for eight points.
“We talked to the team this morning and said we can go two directions, and I think we took a step in the right direction tonight,” Schilkey said. “We just had to stick to it.”
The Scarlet and Gray once again dominated in shots, pummeling the Lakers 52-28.
“I’m really happy for these guys,” Rohlik said. “Sometimes you’re not getting the results and this team stuck together. I think they made a commitment as a group to decide that we’ve just got to keep moving forward. Hat’s off to the guys in the room.”
Both coaches went to different goaltenders for Game 2, as junior Matthew Tomkins made 27 saves for the Buckeyes and his counterpart in freshman Adam Carlson had 47 stops.
“It’s nice to finally get one, it’s been a long time coming,” Tomkins said. “It’s a good momentum changer for our team. For us to capitalize on opportunities and to come out on top tonight is huge especially going into a bye weekend and it’s a good opportunity for us to get on a roll.”
The power play improved for OSU, as they went 2-of-6 on the night while killing off all three of Mercyhurst’s man-advantages.
The Buckeyes will look to build off of this win on Nov. 13 when they are set to host the Golden Griffins of Canisius College at the Schottenstein Center at 7 p.m.