Same team. Same location. New stakes for Ohio State men’s hockey.
The No. 2-seed Buckeyes (18-11-5 ,11-9-4-1 Big Ten) host their Big Ten Tournament first-round matchup against No. 7-seed Wisconsin (14-18-2, 7-15-2-2) –– a team that took two positive results from Ohio State with a win and a tie in the Schottenstein Center this past weekend.
Ohio State will be on home ice once again for the best-of-three quarterfinal series, which begins Friday.
“Every year is a new journey. It’s a new team. Obviously we didn’t win the Big Ten regular season title, which was one of our goals, but we still got goals that lie ahead of us,” Ohio State senior defenseman Gordi Myer said. “You kind of just go on the now and you realize that we’ve still got another chance at one of our goals. And that’s what we’re focused on.”
This past weekend, Wisconsin bested the Buckeyes 3-2 in the first game before capturing an additional league point following a tie and overtime win the next day.
Ohio State junior forward Austin Pooley said the Buckeyes have found a silver lining in their defeat.
“Obviously disappointed in last weekend. We can kinda use that disappointment as motivation for this weekend, and we’re going to,” Pooley said.
Both teams met earlier in the regular season in Madison, Wisconsin, Jan. 10 and 11. Ohio State won 4-2 before a 5-2 loss.
Myer has played 14 games against Wisconsin in his career, and he said tough play will be vital against the Badgers.
“I’m not the most physical guy, and not saying we are the most physical team, but you definitely gotta think about that and play with an edge because you definitely want to be hard on them and take away their time and space and not give them opportunities to score,” Myer said.
In March 2014, the Buckeyes and Badgers met in St. Paul, Minnesota, at the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game. Wisconsin got the win 5-4 in overtime.
The Badgers triumphed again 2-1 during a semifinal matchup in March 2017.
Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said that game was disappointing, but it was a moment for much of the team to learn from.
“We learned taking time and space away and trying to slow them up, not letting them in the zone,” Myer said.
For the third consecutive year, Ohio State is the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
“We’ve worked all year to give us a chance to play home in front of our great fans. It’s gonna be a great series and we’re really excited to get going Friday night,” Pooley said.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday, if a third game is necessary.