The Ohio State men’s hockey team’s season is over after losing 2-0 in a low scoring game against Denver in the NCAA West Regional Semifinals.
In what was one of the lowest scoring games of the season for the Buckeyes, Ohio State (20-11-5, 13-7-4 Big Ten), a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament, was not able to crack the defense of Denver (23-11-5), resulting in its third loss in a row and the end of its season.
Ohio State’s head coach Steve Rohlik was upset after what he described as a disappointing end to the season.
“We knew the team that’s good first was probably going to get the upper-hand and we certainly had our chances there and it just didn’t work out the way we wanted to,” Rohlik said.
The turning point in the match came nearly 40 minutes after the puck drop, when Denver put the first point on the scoreboard with 39.5 seconds left in the second period on a goal by senior defenseman Les Lancaster.
Despite Ohio State getting its fourth power play of the match in the third period, the Buckeyes still couldn’t find an opening in Denver’s defense. With 1:30 left in the game, the Buckeyes replaced their goalie with another skater in an attempt to tie the match up and go into overtime. Denver managed to win the faceoff, however, and scored the game-sealing goal with 58.3 seconds to go.
Ohio State finished the game outshooting the Pioneers 24-13.
Despite the loss, senior forward Mason Jobst was proud of the Buckeyes’ aggressive performance in the first period.
“I think going into the game, obviously, we know the style that they were playing and we were playing was going to be mainly defensive and 0-0: that’s what we expected,” Jobst said. “We had the upper hand in shots and we were keeping things simple. After [the first period] I thought we were feeling pretty good.”
Senior defenseman Sasha Larocque said it was difficult to comprehend this being his final game in an Ohio State uniform.
“We played that Carmen song after every game for the last four years so it was a little bit of a goodbye,” Larocque said. “It’s tough to accept that the best four years of your life are behind you, and you’re never going to throw this jersey on again and play a real game.”