Head coach Steve Rohlik may have found the man to replace two-time team MVP and 2019 Big Ten Goaltender of the Year, Tommy Nappier.
For the second consecutive day, freshman goaltender Jakub Dobeš saved every shot the Connecticut Huskies (2-3-0) sent towards him, paving the way for a 3-0 Ohio State (3-1-0) win. Following a stellar relief appearance in the first game of the series, Dobeš was given his second career start for the Buckeyes.
Rohlik sang the praises of Dobeš and the entirety of his team postgame.
“I thought it was a good team performance. Certainly [Dobeš] looked comfortable and confident, I think he just rode the momentum from last night. You can kind of see when someone has that confidence and swagger, which he does,” Rohlik said. “I give our team a lot of credit, too. They were there helping him out.”
The scoring frenzy that was Friday’s series opener did not follow over into the series finale, as neither team was able to find an opener in the first period.
Both team’s power play units saw time in the initial period, the Huskies’ three times and Ohio State’s once, but neither were able to cash in with a man advantage.
The Buckeyes struck first, as sophomore forward Patrick Guzzo scored his first goal of the year to put his team ahead, 1-0, at the 4:45 mark of the second period.
Guzzo’s goal was assisted by junior forward Matt Cassidy, who picked up his second assist of the season and fourth of his Buckeye career on the play.
Sophomore forward Nick Capone appeared to equalize for the Huskies with eight minutes remaining in the second period, but it was deemed the puck did not enter the goal after ricocheting down off the crossbar.
Ohio State’s lone power play opportunity in the second period came with 3:25 remaining in the frame, after freshman forward Chase Bradley tripped freshman defenseman Cole McWard behind the Ohio State net.
The Buckeyes, however, were incapable of generating a single scoring chance during the two-minute advantage, failing to muster a shot on goal.
Thanks to Guzzo, Ohio State clutched to a 1-0 lead at the conclusion of the second period. The Huskies outshot Ohio State 22-19 in the first 40 minutes of play.
With 7:50 remaining in the final period, sophomore forward Travis Treloar lit the lamp for the second time this season, giving the Buckeyes a 2-0 lead.
Senior forward Quinn Preston found Treloar in front of goal, and the Kalmar, Sweden, native did the rest. Fifth-year defenseman Grant Gabriele also received an assist on the play, the 23rd of his career.
Treloar said he believes the team’s current success is a direct reflection of the work they’re putting in at practice during the week.
“Right now, I think we’re just all confident in each other. We’re battling everyday in practice. The work is between Monday and Thursday and then it’s almost easier to step on the ice in the game,” Treloar said. “We’ve got our great coaching staff that’s keeping us accountable, and we’re never satisfied.”
Just moments after the Huskies pulled graduate goaltender Darion Hanson, junior forward Tate Singleton tallied his third goal of the season from inside Ohio State’s defensive zone to put the Buckeyes ahead for good.
Singleton had a roller coaster of a third period, committing two penalties and drawing another, before wrapping it up with Ohio State’s third and final goal of the night.
Although he made a few mistakes in the game, Rohlik spoke highly of Singleton after the game, applauding his work ethic and desire to get better.
“One minute you want to grab him and tell him, ‘We don’t need that, the next minute you want to pat him on the back. I guess that’s kind of how it goes,” Rohlik said. “But again, he brings it everyday. He works extremely hard and certainly it was a nice goal for him to get there at the end.”
Rohlik has been around long enough to understand the weight sweeping a team like Connecticut holds. That being said, he knows his team has to continue to put the work in during the week if they want their current form to continue.
“It’s so competitive across the board that anytime you get one win it’s huge, but when you can put two in a row and sweep a weekend, it’s something to hang your hat on,” Rohlik said. “But again, like what I told the guys, it’s back to work on Monday.”
The Buckeyes are off next weekend before returning to the Schottenstein Center to host Michigan State Oct. 29 and 30.
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