Ohio State mens hockey splits opening weekend

OSU senior forward Chad Niddery skates up the ice during an exhibition game against Guelph Oct. 4. at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won 7-1.Credit: Melissa Prax / Lantern photographerThe Ohio State men’s hockey team had an up-an-down ride through its weekend. After defeating No. 4 Providence, 5-4, in overtime on Friday night, the Buckeyes fell to the Friars, 2-1, in overtime on Saturday in Columbus.The two one-goal games extracted a range of feelings from OSU. In one day, the Buckeyes’ temperament went from euphoric to downcast.Providence freshman forward Brian Pinho’s goal with 45 seconds remaining in overtime of Saturday’s game sparked the mood change.“It’s disappointing we lost tonight. We gave ourselves a chance,” coach Steve Rohlik said on Saturday. “It’s a tough one to lose in overtime, but I’m proud of our team.”Following a five-goal Friday night, the Buckeyes’ offense could not top the Friars on Saturday despite building momentum in the second period.“We had a lot of rebounds that we didn’t really take advantage of,” OSU senior forward Chad Niddery said. “The bounces just didn’t come for a few (rebounds) that we had right down low.”The Buckeyes’ offensive push was created after OSU killed a five-minute misconduct penalty to start the second period, Rohlik said.The misconduct, issued to sophomore defenseman Josh Healey for contact to the head, left the Buckeye blue line shorthanded for the final 40 minutes.“That’s hockey, that’s going to happen sometimes and you have to be prepared for that,” OSU junior defenseman Sam Jardine said. “We adapted and I think the legs were there.”Buckeye sophomore goalie Matt Tomkins finished the night with 27 saves on 29 shots, the last of which was a wrist shot from the high slot that squeaked under his arm.“(Tomkins) played very well,” Rohlik said. “He gave us every opportunity to win a hockey game.”OSU was outshot 29-27, but lost its biggest battle in the face-off circle where Providence won 38 of 61 draws.Scoring opened eight minutes into the third period when Providence freshman defenseman Logan Day fired a wrist shot from the slot past Tomkins.Less than a minute later, OSU freshman forward Luke Stork took a pass from freshman forward Nick Jones and tied the game with his first collegiate goal.Jones was in Saturday’s lineup after Buckeye sophomore forward Nick Schilkey left Friday’s game with an apparent shoulder injury.Despite Schilkey’s early exit, OSU didn’t struggle to score on Friday. Backed by junior forward Anthony Greco’s hat trick and two goals from senior forward Tanner Fritz, the Buckeyes erased four one-goal deficits en route to a season-opening win.Sophomore goalie Christian Frey finished Friday with 26 saves. The Buckeyes scored three power play goals on seven chances in the game, going three-for-eight on the weekend.OSU killed all seven penalties it took during the series.Providence coach Nate Leaman spoke highly of the Buckeyes after Saturday’s game.“I think they have a really good hockey team,” Leaman said. “I think that team’s probably going to surprise some people this year.”OSU is set to play a home-and-home series against Miami University next weekend, starting on Friday at the Schottenstein Center at 7 p.m.Loose pucksSix freshmen made their OSU debuts this weekendMatt Weis, Luke Stork and Nick Jones registered their first collegiate points during the seriesThe Buckeyes are 3-2 all-time against Providence

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