No. 15 Ohio State (2-1-1) will travel to Erie, Pennsylvania, this weekend for an away series against Mercyhurst (2-2-0).
The Lakers are coming off a bye week and haven’t taken the ice since their 3-2 loss to St. Lawrence Oct. 12.
The Buckeyes are following up their first defeat of the season after a 2-1 Saturday night loss to Nebraska-Omaha.
“You know you can always talk about, ‘Maybe we deserve better.’ All sorts of teams can talk like that,” head coach Steve Rohlik said. “We didn’t get the job done, they beat us, but our guys came back to work Monday, and I love their work ethic right now.”
Team defense and limiting opponents’ shots was a point of emphasis going into last weekend for the Buckeyes and continues to be something they work on as the season continues, sophomore forward Quinn Preston said.
“We’ve worked on blocking shots because we’ve had a lot of shots going through the point,” Preston said.
The Buckeyes are also dealing with injuries that will require some shake-up in the lineup as they get ready for their first true road trip of the season. Senior defenseman Matt Miller, the team’s points leader entering Saturday, left the game with a knee injury.
“That’s why we have a full roster. Injuries are a part of the game,” Rohlik said. “Just like in anything, you don’t want to see guys get hurt because of dangerous hits or five-minute majors. We got other guys that gotta step up.”
The Buckeyes also look forward to an opportunity to build some chemistry off the ice.
“I think it’s a little fun, you know? You get to go on the road, you’re in the hotel with the guys, and stuff kind of brings the team together,” senior defenseman Gordi Myer said. “Especially right now, you know, we’ve had some injuries so I think this would be good for us to get on the road so guys can bond.”
The Lakers have split both series they have played this season and have been outshot by opponents by a combined 141-107.
“Mercyhurst is a good program. They’re well coached,” Rohlik said. “We’ve played these guys in the past. If we’re not at our best, and I say this every week, if we don’t play our best, we’re going to get beat.”
Sophomore forward Dalton Hunter has led the way for the Lakers on the scoring sheet so far, racking up six points through four games, including goals in their past two contests.
Redshirt senior goaltender Garrett Metcalf has started all four games for Mercyhurst so far and has posted a 3.03 goals allowed average and .914 save percentage.
Puck drop for the Buckeyes and Lakers will be at 7:05 p.m. both Friday and Saturday and can be streamed on flohockey.com.