The No. 7 Ohio State men’s hockey team will step out of the Big Ten and into the ECAC to take on the Colgate Raiders in their second straight road series.
The Buckeyes (4-3-1, 1-1-0-0 Big Ten) split their road series with then-No. 5 Notre Dame last weekend with a 1-0 shutout of the Fighting Irish and a close 2-1 loss.
Redshirt senior goalie Sean Romeo said it seems like Ohio State is starting to get back to its brand of hockey that took the team to the Frozen Four last season.
“I think [Notre Dame] had like 20 shots or something Friday night, so our team played great, really played Buckeye hockey, blocked a lot of shots, boxed guys out, made my job easier, kind of similar story to what you saw a lot of last year,” Romeo said.
Moving forward to this weekend, the Buckeyes will shift their focus towards struggling Colgate (2-4-1). The Raiders leading scorer, junior forward Bobby McMann, only has five points this season while Colgate as a whole has only scored 10 goals.
The Raiders return 21 players from last year’s roster and 89 percent of their scoring. Three of their five offseason losses were goaltenders. Colgate entered the season with three freshmen goaltenders, of which Mitch Benson has started six games with just under three goals allowed per game and 17 goals allowed overall.
“We’re going on the road against a good team from the ECAC, which is a great league, and I think, again, we respect our opponent but it’s still about what we’re doing as a team, day by day, and we’ve got to be ready to go this weekend and we will be,” associate head coach Steve Miller said.
Ohio State has struggled on special teams this season, but Colgate will give the Buckeyes a chance to work on both sides of their power play. The Raiders have the fourth-worst penalty kill in the nation, allowing seven power play goals on only 21 attempts.
Offensively on special teams, however, Ohio State and Colgate have faced similar difficulties on the power play. The Buckeyes have a .143 power play percentage, only slightly better than Colgate’s mark of .138 percent.
The goaltending situation for Ohio State has been up in the air thus far this season, with redshirt senior goaltender Sean Romeo and sophomore goaltender Tommy Nappier alternating starts in goal for the Buckeyes, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t split starts again this weekend.
Romeo said the competition has not gotten between the two goaltenders.
“[Nappier] is awesome. He’s one of the funniest guys on the team and I enjoy going to the rink every day, seeing him,” Romeo said. “Obviously, we’re competing against each other but there’s nothing bad. When he’s in I’m cheering for him, I think when I’m in he’s cheering for me, I hope so,” he said.
Regardless of who starts, however, they should expect a workout as Colgate averages more than 30 shots on goal per game, even if the team has been unable to convert on the attempts.
Ohio State’s series with Colgate starts on the road at 7 p.m. on Friday. Game two is on Saturday at 4 p.m.