Then-junior forward Tanner Laczynski (9) skates with the puck in the first period of game one during Ohio State’s hockey game vs. Michigan State on March 1. Ohio State won 5-1. Credit: Nick Hudak | For The Lantern

Ohio State men’s hockey took the ice for the first time this season for a matchup with the Western Mustangs Sunday night in a home exhibition game. 

The No. 12 Buckeyes prevailed by a final score of 5-2 thanks to two goals and an assist from senior forward Tanner Laczynski. 

“The win was a good way to start the year,” head coach Steve Rohlik said. “We did some good things as a team, but certainly need to keep improving. It was nice to see so many new guys get a chance to dress for the first time.”

Ohio State took advantage of Western’s mistakes, scoring three times in its six power play attempts, including Laczynski’s first goal of the game, which was converted with a five-on-three advantage. 

Each goalie on Ohio State’s roster saw action in Sunday’s game, as they all played a full period. The returning Big Ten Goalie of the Year, junior Tommy Nappier, stopped all nine shots he saw in the first period. 

An even-strength goal from sophomore center Quinn Preston with less than four minutes remaining in the opening period gave the Buckeyes held a 2-0 lead.

Junior goalie Evan Moyse took over in net for Ohio State in the second period. He gave up one goal 1:44 in, as the Mustangs got on the board behind a goal from sophomore forward Ethan Szypula. 

Laczynski answered on another power play goal seven minutes later, giving the Buckeyes their second two-goal lead of the game.

Ohio State senior forward Ronnie Hein extended the lead to 4-1 on a goal assisted by Laczynski with a little over five minutes left in the second.

Both teams scored power play goals in the third period. Western junior forward Anthony Stefano snuck one past Ohio State freshman goalie Ryan Snowden to make it 4-2, but the Buckeyes returned fire with a goal from freshman forward Tate Singleton later in the period.

The Buckeyes were able to keep the 5-2 lead until the final whistle. 

“For our first game as a new team, I thought we played well,” Hein said. “Obviously we still have some things to learn and shake off the rust, but I was very happy with everyone’s compete level today. That’s the one thing we preached before the game; just to go out there and play hard and heavy. 

Ohio State will officially kick off the regular season this Friday in Toledo against Western Michigan with a 5 p.m. puck drop at the Ice Breaker Tournament.