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Men’s Hockey: No. 1 Ohio State sweeps Arizona State in season opener

Ohio State junior forward Freddy Gerard (15) evades a defender in the first period of the game against Wisconsin on Feb. 23 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for Design

No. 1 Ohio State (2-0) swept its season opener at Arizona State (2-2) to get its season off to a hot start.

Ohio State is beginning its season after being ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in team history in both the USCHO and USA Today Men’s Hockey polls.

The Buckeyes won their first game on Friday by a score of 3-2 and shut out the Sun Devils on Saturday 3-0.

Game 1

The Buckeyes got off to a quick start Friday as senior forward Freddy Gerard opened up the scoring off an assist from junior forward Carson Meyer just six minutes into the game.

After a penalty by senior forward Dakota Joshua as the first period winded down, sophomore forward Johnny Walker scored the Sun Devils’ first goal on the power play less than a minute into the second period to tie the game up.

The power play was an important factor for both teams, with three of the five goals scored coming with a man advantage. Ohio State was two for five while Arizona State only converted on one of its four opportunities.

The Buckeyes quickly followed up Arizona State’s first goal with a power play of their own, allowing Joshua to score his first goal with assists by senior forward Mason Jobst and redshirt junior defenseman Wyatt Ege.

Only a couple minutes later, Meyer scored his first goal in the Scarlet and Gray off assists from Jobst and junior forward Tanner Laczynski to make the score 3-1. Walker scored on the power play for Arizona State with only seconds to go in the second period to make it 3-2, but senior goaltender Sean Romeo saved all 12 shots sent his way in the third period to secure the win.

Romeo saved 24 shots and allowed two goals in the victory.

Game 2

Following the Buckeyes 3-2 win on Friday, it took a bit longer for both teams to get into their rhythms on Saturday.

The first goal of the game came with just over a minute left in the second period by junior forward Ronnie Hein, assisted by Laczynski and junior defenseman Matt Miller.

Though two of Ohio State’s three goals on Friday came via the power play, the Buckeyes did most of their scoring Saturday with Arizona State at full strength. Ohio State wasn’t able to capitalize on its six power play opportunities during the matchup. Arizona State similarly struggled, failing to convert on each of its six power play attempts.

After trading power plays for most of the game, the Sun Devils eventually got called for tripping Jobst on a breakaway which resulted in a penalty shot, which Jobst buried, giving Ohio State the 2-0 lead. Tripping was just one of the penalties called in this physical game, which resulted in 15 penalties and 30 minutes of time in the penalty box.

With only 20 seconds to play, assists from redshirt junior forward Miguel Fidler and senior forward John Wiitala led to Hein’s second goal of the game in an empty net to cap the game off 3-0.

Sophomore goaltender Tommy Nappier saved all 27 shots sent his way in his second career shutout.

Overall, the Buckeyes out shot Arizona State 70-53 in the series and killed nine of the ten penalties they faced. Ohio State only converted on two of its 11 power play opportunities.

The Buckeyes will come back to Columbus for their home opener against Massachusetts at the Schottenstein Center on Friday at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday at 5:05 p.m.

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