Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik has discussed seizing opportunity and momentum the entire season.
Opportunity arose Friday with a 5-on-3 power play at the start of the third period. The Buckeyes took advantage of that, and the ensuing 5-on-4, and rode the momentum to a five-goal outburst in the game’s final period.
The No. 6 Ohio State men’s hockey team captured its 20th win of the season when it beat Wisconsin 6-2 in a physical affair at the Schottenstein Center.
“We were relentless. Obviously, we’d like to score on the 5-on-3, we didn’t finish the deal, but we never gave up,” Rohlik said. “I think that was a big goal there. It gave us some momentum to score right away to tie the game. We kind of got some momentum and jump from that point.
The Buckeyes (20-8-5, 13-8-2-1 Big Ten) had two goals from both junior forward Dakota Joshua and sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski to give redshirt junior goaltender Sean Romeo much-needed support. Romeo added 36 saves on 38 shots in the win.
Laczynski’s two goals gave him his 12th and 13th goals of the year and snapped his five-game pointless streak.
“Everyone has slumps. [I] kind of just stuck to it,” Laczynski said. “Just try and keep working hard in practice. I know it was just a matter of time.”
Wisconsin (14-16-4, 8-12-3-1 Big Ten) dictated the play for most the first period, which resulted in the opening goal for the Badgers off the stick of freshman forward Linus Weissbach, who cleaned up a rebound in front of the goal
Romeo faced a barrage of rubber and made several spectacular saves in the period, which kept the Buckeyes within a goal. Shots favored Wisconsin 15-6 after one period of play.
“Sometimes we’re not going to be at our best and you need a guy like that to step up and he’s been doing that all year,” Rohlik said. “Other times we need to score a few more goals, so it’s kind of a team thing. Obviously, he’s been that rock back there for us and been that constant.”
It didn’t take long for the Buckeyes to break the scoreless tie in the second period. Junior forward Dakota Joshua scored his 12th goal of the season on a tic-tac-toe passing play when he put the puck into the net past senior goaltender Kyle Hayton. Senior forward Luke Stork and junior forward Freddy Gerard assisted the goal.
The Badgers later restored their lead when junior forward Matthew Freytag found a loose puck in the crease and put it past Romeo at 16:26 in the second period.
Just as the second period wound down, the Badgers took two penalties giving the Buckeyes a 5-on-3 power play to start the third period.
In the third period, the Buckeyes added two quick goals following the 5-on-3 power play. Sophomore Laczynski scored just as the second penalty came to an end. The other came less a minute later off Joshua’s stick.
The Buckeyes added three more goals in the third to bring the score to 6-2.
Shots totaled to 38-34 in favor of Wisconsin. Hayton made 28 saves on 34 shots in the loss.
The second game of the weekend series against Wisconsin marks Senior Night for the six Buckeye seniors. It will start at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Schott.