No. 6 Ohio State was looking for more discipline after its chippy Friday night game against Wisconsin, and, while the penalties continued to pile up against the Badgers, Ohio State was still able to come away with a 3-1 win on two first period goals.
The Buckeyes (8-3-1, 3-1-0-0 Big Ten) took their first game against Wisconsin (5-7-0, 1-3-0-0 Big Ten) in a 4-0 shutout and were looking for their third series sweep this season against the Badgers.
A goal early in the third period by Wisconsin sophomore forward Sean Dhooghe to make it 3-1 snapped Ohio State’s 231:42 shutout streak, a program record. The power play goal was also the first goal given up on the power play since the Buckeyes played Bowling Green.
Sophomore forward Tommy Nappier’s only allowed one goal on Saturday night on 28 shots that he faced. Nappier has only allowed eight goals this season and, after thethis game on Saturday, he holds the best save percentage in the nation at .958.
Freshman forward Quinn Preston scored his first goal and point in an Ohio State uniform early in the first period, making a move around a Wisconsin defender before hitting the back of the net. He was assisted on the goal by senior defenseman Sasha Larocque and senior forward Dakota Joshua.
“It’s obviously a huge thing for me, especially doing it here at home, it was a really good feeling to get that monkey off my back,” Preston said. “You get things rolling, a little confidence booster, and start the boys out with a good start early in the game. Start out with the lead, it’s easy to play.”
Following a penalty-laden series opener, the penalties again began to add up quickly for both teams. Half of the first period was spent with a team on a power play with five penalties being assessed to five different players, and the teams finished with a combined 13 penalties and 26 penalty minutes.
Larocque said the Buckeyes need to stick to what they do in emotional games like the series against Wisconsin.
“Coach preaches discipline within our systems and within how we’re playing the game physically like that,” Larocque said. “When emotions get high we have to resort back to our roots and part of that is discipline, so it’s not much of a challenge for us to do that.”
Later in the first period, junior defenseman Gordi Myer scored his first goal of the season during a four-on-three power play after a sequence of penalties. Junior forward Tanner Laczynski was credited with an assist as well as Joshua, his second of the game.
Ohio State was four of five on the penalty kill against Wisconsin, 10 of 11 overall in the series and scored two power play goals on seven attempts. 18 of their 38 shots came with the man advantage, and Ohio State outshot Wisconsin in the series 65-60.
The Buckeyes had the No. 45 power play in the nation coming into the series, and the penalty kill has returned to its 2017 form, allowing one power play goal in its last six games.
“Again, just hard work,” head coach Steve Rohlik said. “Things aren’t going to look pretty at times, and we’ve been working hard on special teams. Sometimes they click, sometimes they don’t, but you’ve just got to stay with it.”
Senior forward Mason Jobst added another goal late in the second period, his seventh of the season, and now leads the Buckeyes with 10 points and is tied for No. 7 in the NCAA in goals.
Jobst was assisted on the score by freshman Gustaf Westlund and Laczynski, his second point of the game. Westlund has spent time on the first line this season, playing with Jobst and junior forward Carson Meyer for the last couple of series, and leads the team with seven assists.
The goaltending stretch for Ohio State has been one of the best in program history. The Buckeyes have only allowed one goal in their last two series and have pitched shutouts in four of their last six games.
Ohio State will stay at the Schottenstein Center next weekend against No. 5 Penn State. The puck drops at 5:00 p.m. on Friday and 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.