Ohio State took the first game of its home-opening series against Nebraska-Omaha Friday night in a game that saw 17 penalties.
Tied in the final period, No. 12 Ohio State (2-0-1) sophomore forward Quinn Preston scored the game-winner to best Ohama (2-1-0) 3-2 on a one-timer set up by senior forward Tanner Laczynski.
It was the fourth power play score of the game’s five goals.
“I don’t think either team wants to take that many penalties to be honest with you. We want to get out there and play five on five hockey and get into the flow of the game,” head coach Steve Rohlik said. “It was about special teams, who’s going to win the special teams battle.”
In the first period, both teams received three power play opportunities and converted one each, making the game 1-1 after the first.
The Buckeyes’ first power play opportunity came 38 seconds into the game as Omaha sophomore forward Taylor Ward was sent to the penalty box for roughing. The Buckeyes came up empty-handed.
Midway into the first, the Buckeyes received a penalty for too many men on the ice. The Omaha power play was short-lived, as Omaha junior forward Kevin Conley received an interference penalty.
It was four-on-four hockey for less than a minute before Omaha senior forward Zach Jordan was called for tripping, giving the Buckeyes a rare four-on-three advantage.
The Buckeyes scored off a shot from senior defenseman Matt Miller, the game’s first goal.
The Mavericks cashed in a power play of their own, as Conley scored with just 48.9 seconds left in the first period to tie the game going into the first intermission.
The penalties kept coming in the second period, as each team was assessed three each once again.
“We talk about it before the game, so it’s kind of disappointing,” senior forward Tanner Laczynski said. “Especially the too many men penalties, those are ones that we as a team can control.”
Late in the second period, the Buckeyes had a flurry of chances to convert, but Omaha freshman goalie Isaiah Saville was able to keep the puck out of the net.
Lacynski found the back of the net with just 2.5 seconds left in the period to give the Buckeyes a one-scorel lead heading into the final period.
Omaha senior defenseman Ryan Jones was able to score just 4:49 into the third period to tie the game. It was the game’s only even strength goal.
Jones then committed a cross-checking penalty with 11:38 left in the game to set up the goal from Preston.
Laczynski’s assist was his third point of the night, the eighth time he’s done so in his career.
Rohlik said he expects an inspired performance from Omaha Saturday.
“We know were going to face a better hockey team tomorrow,” Rohlik said. “Any time you lose a hockey game, you want to bounce back.”
The Buckeyes will be back at home tomorrow for the second game of the series against Omaha. The game is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.