Men’s Hockey: Ohio State splits season opening series at Bentley

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The Ohio State men’s hockey team huddle up after a goal during the Ohio State-Notre Dame game on Feb. 6. Ohio State lost 8-1. Credit: Christian Harsa | Special Projects Director

The Ohio State men’s hockey team got a taste of both victory and defeat in its first regular season series of the year.

Ohio State (1-1-0) and Bentley (1-2-0) split their two-game series in Waltham, Massachusetts, this weekend. The Buckeyes were narrowly defeated 2-1 Friday before bouncing back and throttling the Falcons 7-1 Saturday.

Game 1

The Buckeyes were unable to get off the mark in the first game of the season, losing by a goal.

The Buckeyes went behind just 95 seconds into their season, as graduate forward Collin Rutherford gave Bentley an early lead following a bad giveaway in the Buckeyes’ defensive zone.

Ohio State outshot the Falcons 18-11 in the opening period, but trailed as it entered intermission.

Bentley struck again shortly into the second period, scoring after just 28 seconds. The goal was scored by freshman forward Cooper Connell and assisted by graduate forwards Brendan Hamblet and Phil Knies.

Freshman defenseman Mason Lohrei, a recent draft pick of the Boston Bruins, lit the lamp for Ohio State just 16 seconds after the Falcons extended their lead, giving the Buckeyes hope they could still salvage something from the game.

However, that tying goal never came, and the Buckeyes dropped the opener, 2-1. Junior forward Tate Singleton appeared to tie the game for the Buckeyes with 3:44 remaining in the final period, but the goal was overturned after a Bentley challenge.

Junior goaltender Ryan Snowden saved 23-of-25 shots for the Buckeyes, but was bested by Nicholas Grabko, Bentley’s sophomore netminder. Grabko was excellent for the Falcons, saving 34 of the 35 shots he faced.

Special teams were a non-factor in the contest. Ohio State’s power play unit was unsuccessful in two attempts, while Bentley’s went 0-for-3.

Game 2

The Buckeyes completely overwhelmed Bentley in the series finale, beating the Falcons 7-1.

Ohio State scored early and often Saturday, using three opening-period goals to coast to its first victory of the young season.

Singleton was the star of the show in this one, scoring twice and assisting another. The West Lebanon, New Hampshire native opened the scoring at the 5:54 mark in the first period, and closed it with just over 12 minutes remaining in the third.

Nine Buckeyes tallied points in the rout, including freshman forward Gosha Merkulov, who tallied his first collegiate point when he assisted sophomore forward Travis Treloar’s power play goal with fewer than two minutes remaining in the first period.

Senior forward Gustaf Westlund, who was named a captain by head coach Steve Rohlik earlier this week, scored his 24th career goal as a Buckeye early in the third period.

The Falcons scored their first and only goal of the game with 3:08 remaining in the final period. Junior forward Lucas VanRoboys’ shot beat Ohio State freshman goalie Jakub Dobeš and kept Bentley from being shutout.

Dobeš, who made his first collegiate start, more than held his own, saving 17-of-18 Falcon shots on goal.

Ohio State converted on two of its seven power plays, an improvement for the unit after failing to score on either of its two opportunities Friday.

Bentley was unsuccessful on its lone power play. The Buckeyes have now killed off all four penalties it has committed through two games.

Ohio State tallied more shots and won more faceoffs than the Falcons, winning the battles 41-18 and 35-16 respectfully.

The Buckeyes will look to continue their momentum next weekend against Connecticut, who comes to the Schottenstein Center for games Oct. 15 and 16.

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