After a tie in Friday’s meeting between the two squads, the Buckeyes overcame the Fighting Irish for the first time this season following a pair of defeats Nov. 8 and 9.
No. 9 Ohio State men’s hockey (15-6-3, 8-4-2-0 Big Ten) topped No. 18 Notre Dame (10-10-4, 5-6-3-2) 2-1 in the Schottenstein Center Saturday on an eventual game-winning goal in the second period by sophomore forward Gustaf Westlund.
“We stress the same things every week: work hard, show up and be detailed, and that forces good habits,” Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said. “If you do that Monday through Thursday, you are going to give yourself a chance to have a good weekend.”
With an even 1-1 score less than one minute into the second period, Notre Dame junior forward Colin Theisen entered the penalty box for interference.
Westlund capitalized on the opportunity, dusting off a pass from senior forward Tanner Laczynski — his second assist of the night — to place the Buckeyes ahead 2-1. Junior defenseman Grant Gabriele also recorded an assist on the play.
Rohlik and Westlund both said the power play goal marked a turning point in the game.
“We had the momentum in from last night, we were down a goal and we came back four yesterday,” Westlund said. “We just fought and knew we were going to tie the game and come back and score a goal.”
After Notre Dame took advantage with 8:29 remaining in the first period on a goal by junior forward Matt Steeves, Ohio State sophomore forward Quinn Preston tied the game with under four minutes left in the period.
“Anytime you can score to even things up, it’s a big momentum thing for the team,” Rohlik said. “I thought we came out and played really well. I felt better walking off the period 1-1 and was three shots to three shots, I’ve never really seen that too often. But it was good to get the goal for our team and our psyche.”
After a scoreless battle in the final 20 minutes, the Buckeyes held on for the victory.
Notre Dame outshot Ohio State 16-5 in the third, but Ohio State freshman goal Ryan Snowden stopped all 16 attempts en route to a .966 save percentage.
After giving up four goals in game one, Snowden produced a one-goal-allowed performance to lead the Buckeyes to victory Saturday
“We go to Minnesota next weekend, so it doesn’t get any easier, we’re on the road the next two weeks but we are going to have a really good week to prepare for a good hockey team,” Rohlik said.
Ohio state will next face off against Minnesota Friday at 8:00pm.