Ohio State men’s hockey couldn’t score early, entering the third period down 3-0, but scored four goals in the final eight minutes to tie the game 4-4 and force overtime.
Despite the comeback, No. 9 Ohio State (14-6-3, 7-4-2-0 Big Ten) dropped the shootout to No. 18 Notre Dame (10-9-5, 5-5-2-2), which earned an extra league point following two overtime periods.
“Easily could’ve packed it in in the third there when thought we played a decent game. Sometimes the bounces may not go your way, but these guys never quit, and I thought we showed a lot of heart out there in the end,” head coach Steve Rohlik said.
The eventual shootout-winning score came from Notre Dame sophomore forward Graham Slaggert after two scoreless overtime periods, but 12:40 into the second period, Notre Dame had a 3-0 lead.
Ohio State was without junior and 2019’s Big Ten Goaltender of the Year Tommy Nappier for the second straight game with an undisclosed leg injury, and taking his place was freshman goalie Ryan Snowden. It was Snowden’s third start of the year.
Rohlik said Nappier’s status will be day to day moving forward, but he wasn’t disappointed with Snowden’s performance despite allowing three early goals — two from sophomore forward Alex Steeves.
Just two minutes after Steeves’ second score, junior forward Colin Theisen increased the lead with a goal of his own.
The Buckeyes appeared dead in the water, but they roared back to life with four goals in the eight minutes of regulation to force overtime.
“These guys just kept competing, and that’s what I ask for,” Rohlik said.
Ohio State senior defenseman Gordi Myer scored the first goal of the night for the Buckeyes — his 10th of the season — 12 minutes into the final period.
A ripple effect immediately followed, as junior forward Austin Pooley scored less than two minutes later.
Slaggert extended the Fighting Irish lead once again at the 16:17 mark, but sophomore forward Quinn Preston returned fire shortly after. Preston finished with three points on the night and had another goal overturned earlier for a Buckeye being in the crease illegally.
Sophomore forward Gustaf Westlund scored the period’s fifth goal with just 1:05 remaining in regulation.
“We’ve always clawed our way back, especially in the third period,” Preston said.
It was a stalemate in two five-minute overtime periods, and the teams entered a shootout before the Buckeyes’ home crowd.
Snowden stopped four Notre Dame attempts in the shootout, but it wasn’t enough, as Westlund missed the Buckeyes’ final attempt, which ended the game following Slaggert’s prior conversion.
Notre Dame has now gotten the better of Ohio State in all three season matchups, including two wins in their first series Nov. 8 and 9. Of the teams’ three meetings, two have gone to overtime, and each have been decided by a single score.
The Buckeyes have a shot at revenge as they face off with Notre Dame again at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Schottenstein Center.