BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Mission accomplished.
The Ohio State men’s hockey team said it wanted to go 4-2 in its last six games before the holiday break, and after splitting the points with ranked squads from Alaska and Michigan the past two weekends, the Buckeyes needed a sweep of Bowling Green to feel they reached that goal.
Saturday night, it came to fruition. Ohio State never trailed on the way to a 4-2 win in the BGSU Ice Arena, getting a pair of goals from Sergio Somma and single tallies from C.J. Severyn and Danny Dries to finish off a two-game sweep of the Falcons in front of 2,515.
"Our goal was to end up 4-2 in our last six games, and tonight we reached that goal,” said Severyn. “It feels good going into break. Obviously guys can go home, get some rest and catch up on family time and then come back ready to go at it for the second part of the year."
Though one of the wins came via shootout and was technically a tie in the NCAA’s eyes, the Buckeyes will still take the strong finish to the first half. The win against BG allowed OSU to even its record going into the break at 8-8-1 (4-6-1-1 CCHA).
But what head coach Mark Osiecki will like the most is the way the Buckeyes responded to a sometimes lackluster effort in the series opener Friday night to dominate the Falcons in the finale. The Buckeyes outshot BG 27-13, making life easy on goaltender Cal Heeter for much of the night.
OSU ended the night with 17 blocked shots on the scoresheet.
"It started with blocked shots, it really did," Osiecki said. "Our bench came alive with that. We talked about it this morning. Certainly last night we didn't play with enough energy in terms of moving our feet and taking the body. (Tonight) they started doing the little things. It was all the little things and all the team things."
The Buckeyes also played with a fair bit of grit, especially the line of Severyn, junior Cory Schneider and freshman Chris Crane. Severyn drew an early penalty to cancel out a BG power play and then got the opening goal at 8:09 of the first, winning a battle for a loose puck and sending it toward BG goaltender Andrew Hammond. Schneider won the race to the puck, though, and poked it through Hammond and into the crease for Severyn to tap in.
“That’s all Coach talks about in the locker room is scoring greasy goals, getting guys and pucks to the net, traffic in front of the net,” Severyn said. “Their D coughed it up and the puck was lying in front of the net. Schneids hit it and I just tapped it in.”
Somma then got on the board at the 15:17 mark of the second on the power play, as a rush up the ice ended with Somma capitalizing in a scrum from short range.
"We have to work hard to get our goals, and that's going to be the areas we have to get it," Osiecki said. "That's certainly a good sign for our club."
Bowling Green didn’t seriously threaten in the third, save for when Cameron Sinclair made it a 2-1 game 5:04 into the frame with an excellent deflection at the right post off a pass from Reed Rushing.
That didn’t last long, though, as Dries found a turnover at the blue line after Andrew Krelove gave up the puck and fired the breakaway past Hammond with ease at 8:39.
“A little lucky bounce there, a little miscommunication on their part, but I'll take it," Dries said. I can't complain about those."
Somma added an empty-net tally at 17:48 before Krelove scored with 14 seconds to play to set the final margin.
With the first half of the season over, the Buckeyes next play Jan. 1 at Vermont as part of the Sheraton/TD Bank Catamount Cup.
Notes: Ohio State hasn’t lost at Bowling Green since January 2006. … The Buckeyes improved to 2-0 in Ohio Cup play, the traveling trophy sponsored by BSB.