No. 11 Ohio State men’s hockey (9-4-1, Big Ten 5-3) swept No. 20 Michigan State (6-7-1, Big Ten 4-3-1) with a 2-0 win Sunday at home.
It was Ohio State’s third straight win after losing three in a row prior to this past Saturday.
“I think it’s just the resiliency in the locker room,” senior forward Tanner Laczynski said. “We didn’t lose for lack of effort. We lost with some details there — kind of mistakes on our end — and we beat ourselves, so I think cleaning those things up and we’re able to win those one-goal games now because of that.”
Junior goalie Tommy Nappier returned to net for the Buckeyes after missing Saturday’s game due to injury. He posted his first shutout of the season, stopping all 23 shots he faced.
“My forwards were coming back hard and my D were playing good defense, keeping it on the outside and clearing it out in front of the net so I could see the puck,” Nappier said.
Laczynski opened the scoring for the game 13:14 into the first period, as he fired the puck into an empty net following a collision between Ohio State freshman forward Quinn Preston and Michigan State senior goalie John Lethemon. The puck was sent into the corner of the boards, and after a failed Spartan attempt to clear it, Laczynski turned and fired the puck into the back of the net.
“Quinn made a good play to the net, just getting traffic and bodies to the net,” Laczynski said. “And all I heard in the background was Austin Pooley just saying, ‘Goalies out of the net!’ I just turned around, fired it and thankfully it just snuck in.”
The penalty kill factored into Ohio State’s ability to hold the lead. The Buckeyes killed all four Michigan State power plays.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about special teams,” head coach Steve Rohlik said. “Our PK came up huge, and that’s really the difference.”
The Spartans offense came alive in the third period as it registered 12 of its 23 shots on goal, but came up empty-handed.
“When you play a good hockey team like that, they’re going to have a push, and they’re going to get momentum,” Rohlik said. “They got momentum in the third period. They emptied their tanks, and we did what we needed to do.”
Ohio State doubled its lead with 35 seconds remaining in the game as senior defenseman Gordi Myer scored on an empty net to secure the victory for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State will return to Value City Arena Friday and Saturday as it takes on Minnesota.