After splitting a pair of road games against No. 10 Wisconsin this past weekend, Ohio State (1-1-0, 1-1-0-0 in Big Ten) comes home to the Schottenstein Center against nonconference opponent Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
RPI has yet to play a regular-season game this fall, and its only exhibition was against Saint Mary’s from Nova Scotia, Canada. RPI lost the game 2-1.
“I know they’re going to be very well coached and you know they’ll be ready to go, for us we’re going to prepare the same way each week for each team,” head coach Steve Rohlik said. “We just have to really concern ourselves with trying to get better.”
RPI had a record of 8-28-1 last season, and struggled on the road, posting a 3-16-0 record away from the Houston Field House. The Buckeyes faced off against the Engineers last November and won both games, 4-0 and 3-2.
“You know they’re going to be a good team, we played them last year and they played us pretty tough,” junior forward Mason Jobst said. “So I think we expect that again, and this should be a fun, exciting weekend.”
The Buckeyes fell out of the Top 20 this week after splitting a road series against then-No. 12 Wisconsin, which moved up two places in the rankings following the series. Jobst shined in the series, notching two goals and two assists. The four points were enough for him to be named the Big Ten’s first star of the week.
Junior forward Freddy Gerard also got off to a hot start with a goal and three assists in the first two games. The four points already double his total from his sophomore campaign.
“I just tried to play hard and do what I could out there,” Gerard said. “Coach gave me the opportunity to play with some good players over the weekend, and I just tried to use my speed and use my opportunities to make plays.”
The power play will need to improve for the Buckeyes, who went a staggering 0-for-11 in the series against Wisconsin. Last year, the Buckeyes finished first in the NCAA with a 31.4 percent success rate.
“It’s just unacceptable and something that we were really good at last year that won us a lot of games, so we have to get back on the right track,” Jobst said.
Puck drop for the home-opening series against RPI is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center Friday, and 4 p.m. Saturday.