No. 1 Ohio State men’s hockey team fell to UMass 6-3 after falling into an early hole in its home opener.
Ohio State (2-1-0), ranked No. 1 in the polls for the first time in team history, allowed six goals against UMass (3-0-0) on only 27 shots.
Though the loss was disappointing for the Buckeyes, head coach Steve Rohlik said there were positives from their first home outing, and they know what they need to work on.
“Number one, we’ve got to just keep getting better. It’s the beginning of the year, it’s our third game, it’s a long season,” Rohlik said. “We played a really good hockey team tonight, we knew that. You know, we didn’t have the start we wanted. I liked their compete coming back.”
UMass senior forward Brett Boeing opened up the scoring off an assist from sophomore defenseman Cale Makar with just under ten minutes remaining in the first period.
It wouldn’t be the last time Makar would leave his impression on Ohio State, as he would provide another assist and an empty net goal of his own later on.
With just over seven minutes remaining in the second period, it was 3-0 in favor of the Minutemen and the Buckeyes seemed out of sorts, and were looking for a jump start on offense.
“At that point is was kind of a do or die,” senior defenseman Sasha Larocque said. “You know we had to come out and give them our best to stay in the game, and the guys battled really hard, we got back into it.”
After the Buckeyes killed a penalty, junior forward Carson Meyer gave the Buckeyes some momentum late in the second period off a penalty shot for his second goal of the season. He followed it up minutes later with his second goal of the game to cut the UMass lead to one.
Though the game ended in defeat for the Buckeyes, Meyer still had an impressive game for the Buckeyes, scoring two goals that gave Ohio State a chance to mount a comeback.
Halfway through the third period, senior forward Dakota Joshua scored to again cut the lead to one. But with less than five minutes remaining, UMass freshman forward Bobby Trivigno made it 5-3 in favor of the Minutemen to ice the game. An additional goal was tacked on a minute later by Makar to bring the final score to 6-3.
Ohio State outshot UMass 38-27 on the night and were one for five on the power play. Redshirt senior goaltender Sean Romeo saved 21 shots and allowed five goals.
Looking to tomorrow’s game, Larocque said the team knows what it needs to improve on to earn its first home win of the season.
“I think just, like coach has been saying, coming out ready to play, start to finish. It’s something we’ve struggled with in past years, being consistent throughout an entire game, and it’s something that we really need to improve,” Larocque said.
The Buckeyes will return to the Schottenstein Center to play their second game against UMass at 5:00 p.m on Saturday.