Over the past few weeks, Ohio State men’s hockey head coach Mark Osiecki has watched his team play well and lose. He’s also seen it play well and win.
Saturday night, he watched it struggle but still tie.
The Buckeyes were outpaced by a desperate and on point Notre Dame team in front of a season-high 6,567 in Value City Arena, but Ohio State held strong long enough to earn a 2-2 draw. Notre Dame earned the shootout victory to take the extra point in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings, but Osiecki was still proud of the way his team stayed with the game and emerged with something to show for it in the standings.
“You’re going to have a game where it’s not going to be perfect, and you have to find a way to gut it out,” Osiecki said. “I thought our guys found a way to gut it out, starting with (goalie Brady Hjelle), and we were able to steal a point. On a national scene, it’s a tie, and that’s a great point for us.”
The head coach repeated the phrase “steal a point” more than once in his remarks, and that was the case. The ninth-ranked Fighting Irish held a 47-22 edge in shots on goal, including 18-5 over the third period and overtime, and a 97-43 edge in overall shots. Hjelle made a career-high 45 saves in the effort.
The Buckeyes got a shorthanded goal from Darik Angeli and a power-play tally from freshman Craig Dalrymple, one of the blue liners asked to step up as the team was without co-captain Curtis Gedig. Gedig suffered an upper-body injury late in the Friday night game vs. Notre Dame and is out for anywhere from a week to a month.
Ohio State certainly missed the NHL draft pick, as the team couldn’t get much going for large portions of the evening.
“I don’t know if it’s because Geds was out and that made a difference on our blue line, but we had a hard time getting out of our zone,” Osiecki said. “I don’t want to take much away from the way Notre Dame played. They played extremely well. They played desperate. They had us on our heels. The one thing we did is we hung tough.”
Ohio State (11-11-6, 10-6-4-1) finished the evening fifth in the CCHA and completed a four-game homestand earning 10 of 12 possible points, while Notre Dame (16-11-1, 12-7-1-1) stayed in third after their first tie of the season.
“I thought we played real well,” ND head coach Jeff Jackson said. “It was tough to give up a 5-on-3 goal at the end of the second, that was disappointing. Taking points on the road is an important step this time of the year and I thought our guys played extremely well.”
Ohio State struck first with Angeli’s shorthanded goal 11:11 into the game. OSU won a draw in its own zone and Sam Jardine rimmed the puck along the boards all the way out to Angeli in the neutral zone, and the sophomore finished the resulting 2-on-1 by beating goaltender Mike Johnson to the far side. It was the first shorthanded goal allowed all year by the Irish.
The Buckeyes got another shorthanded odd-man rush seconds later, but Alex Lippincott’s slap shot caught Johnson on the mask and the lid spilled to the ice after the Irish goaltender made the stop.
The line of Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick T.J. Tynan, Mike Voran and Thomas DiPauli buzzed for the entirety of the first, and it finally earned a goal with just 6.7 seconds left. It was a controversial one, though, as DiPauli appeared to use his arm to swipe a rebound past Hjelle, but it was called a goal on the ice and reply was inconclusive.
“They said they called it a goal on the ice and they couldn’t tell from the video replay,” Osiecki said. “I would love to see the replay that they had. The replay that we have, there’s no stick involved and you see an arm move.”
Tynan and OSU’s leading goal scorer, Ryan Dzingel, each had breakaway chances early in the second that they couldn’t convert, and Ohio State’s Chad Niddery hired high on a 3-on-1 as well.
Notre Dame then took the lead at 11:22 of the stanza, as Tynan picked up his second assist of the night. A nice piece of passing from Tynan to Sam Calabrase found the ND defenseman open, and he made a deke and threw the puck at the net to see it go in off of Ohio State’s Jardine to make the score 2-1.
The Buckeyes earned a 5-on-3 late in the period on penalties to Tynan and Robbie Russo, though, and converted when Tanner Fritz – who extended his point streak to eight – set up Dalrymple for a rocket from the left hashmark that hit the inside of the right post and went in.
“We changed up the 5-on-3 before the game because unfortunately Gedig was out, so coach told me I was going to be on it,” Dalrymple said after his second career goal. “We worked it around, and we had a set play we do. Fritzie brought it up, I slid down and I put it away.”
Notre Dame dominated the territory in the third period but didn’t have that many great chances, though the Tynan line did have a few as it got traffic in front.
DiPauli had another open shot in overtime but Hjelle stood tall, and the shootout was won by the Irish by a 1-0 score. Tynan and OSU’s Riley Simpson each hit the post within the first three shooters, then Anders Lee snuck one through Hjelle’s wickets to win it in the fourth round.
“We spent a lot of time in our zone, but like I said, we found a way to steal a point,” Osiecki said. “That’s a big fight out of that group that’s in the locker room when they didn’t have their ‘A’ game.”
Dzingel had the second assist on Dalrymple’s goal to push his point streak to six, but Max McCormick’s four-game run ended. … Tynan now has 10 points in eight career games vs. the Buckeyes. … ND has outshot its opponent in 21 of 28 games. … The Buckeyes now have eight power-play goals in their last five games (8 for 23, 34.8 percent) after snapping a seven-game streak without a man-up goal. … Ohio State is now 1-1-1 when allowing more than 40 shots.