The Ohio State hockey program has won four of its last five, including a victory against No. 20 Minnesota Duluth last night, but the Buckeyes took a loss in the depth column today with the news that sophomore goaltender Collin Olson has left the program to return to junior hockey.
OSU head coach Steve Rohlik confirmed the news with BSB Sunday afternoon. Olson had played in just two of OSU's first eight games this season and 11 (with nine starts) over his first two seasons.
"Over the last few years, he hasn't played a ton of games, and he just felt for him he needed to go to junior hockey and go play," Rohlik said. "He's a good kid, but that's what he has to do, so we wish him the best and we'll help him out."
As a product of the U.S. Under-18 team and a sixth-round pick of Carolina in the 2012 draft, Olson entered OSU to high expectations but found himself stuck behind senior All-American Brady Hjelle last season.
This year, Olson started the season opener vs. Miami (Ohio) and played well at the start before a late Miami surge led the RedHawks to a 6-2 victory. He didn't start again until the Oct. 25 home game vs. Robert Morris, but he gave up two goals on the first three shots and was relieved by freshman Matt Tomkins.
Tomkins, himself a seventh-round draft pick, has started the four games since. He is 4-3-0 on the year with a 3.04 GAA and a .901 save percentage.
He and fellow true freshman Logan Davis, a local product added late last year in the recruiting process, will be the Buckeyes' two netminders now.
"Right now, that's where we're at, and we'll start moving forward in the recruiting process," Rohlik said. "Certainly there are a lot of quality guys out there, and it's going to be a pretty fantastic opportunity for somebody."
Olson leaves OSU with career marks of 2-4-1, a 3.70 GAA and .885 save percentage. This year, his goals-against finished at 7.64 and he had a .805 save percentage.
His departure, though, could be viewed by some as another public black mark against a maligned Buckeye program, but OSU remains 4-4-0 this season and headed toward the opening of Big Ten play later this month.
"I just know what's here and know what's going on with our guys and I know how excited they are," Rohlik said. "We feel good about where things are at, and it's just another scenario where it kind of is what it is."