Ohio State’s men’s hockey team (9-5-0, 5-3-0 Big Ten) split their third series in a row this weekend. The Buckeyes defeated No. 8 Notre Dame (11-4-0, 5-3-0 Big Ten) 4-2 Friday, before falling 5-1 in the series finale Saturday.
Notre Dame, which entered Friday night’s contest with a six-game winning streak, scored the first goal of the series. Sophomore forward Ryder Rolston beat freshman goaltender Jakub Dobeš with a wrist shot to give the Fighting Irish the lead at 7:41 in the first period.
The Buckeyes didn’t hang their heads however, as junior forward Kamil Sadlocha and sophomore forward Travis Treloar lit the lamp for Ohio State before the first period ended.
Treloar’s tally came on the power play. His goal gave the Buckeyes their first man-advantage goal since their 5-2 win over Penn State Nov. 5.
Freshman forward Georgii Merkulov and graduate defenseman Will Riedell added the only two goals in the second period, extending Ohio State’s lead to 4-1.
Merkulov beat Notre Dame graduate goalie Matthew Galajda with a near-post snipe at 12:16, extending his goal streak to three games.
Freshman forward Cam Thiesing and freshman defenseman Mason Lohrei both added assists on the Russian’s goal, the second of the evening for each of them.
Ohio State’s fourth and final goal of the contest, which was scored by Riedell, also came on the power play. Friday marked the first time the Buckeyes scored multiple power play goals since their 7-1 win over Bentley Oct. 9.
After an Ohio State penalty with 4:20 remaining, Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson pulled Galajda and skated with six men on the ice for the rest of the game. The Buckeyes killed off the penalty before conceding a consolation goal with 1:18 to play.
Dobeš was excellent for the Buckeyes in the victory. The freshman phenom set a new career-high with 34 saves in the series opener.
Ten different skaters grabbed points for the Buckeyes in the win. Thiesing and Lohrei were the only two with multiple.
Ohio State won the special teams battle Friday, converting 2-of-5 power play opportunities and killing off both of the penalties it committed.
For the second consecutive night, Notre Dame struck first. Senior defenseman Nick Leiverman scored on the power play after 4:08. Leivermann, who picked up two assists Friday, extended his point streak to six games.
Following a penalty by senior forward Gustaf Westlund, Rolsten added his second goal of the series just 1:43 later, extending the Irish’s lead to 2-0. Lievermann picked up an assist on the goal, his fourth point of the weekend.
At 7:34, junior forward Dalton Messina won an offensive zone faceoff back to junior forward Jaedon Leslie, who beat junior netminder Ryan Bischel to trim Notre Dame’s lead to one.
Leslie found the back of the net for the third time this season, tying his goal output from a year ago. Messina’s assist was the second of his collegiate career.
Like the Buckeyes Friday night, Notre Dame scored the only two goals of the second period and extended its lead to 4-1.
The Slaggert brothers combined to restore Notre Dame’s two-goal advantage with 9:33 left in the period. Graham Slaggert, a senior forward, fed younger brother Landon Slaggert, a sophomore forward, who beat Dobeš stick-side.
Senior forward Cam Burke added the second goal of the period for Notre Dame with 4:58 to play. Burke was credited with the goal although the puck appeared to deflect off of Westlund and into the back of the net.
Notre Dame added a second power play goal of the evening early in the third period to make the score 5-1.
Following a night where the Buckeyes excelled on special teams, they were equally as poor in the series finale. Ohio State failed to cash in on all five of its man-advantages, while allowing Notre Dame to score on two of its three.
Ohio State will return home ahead of a series with No. 3 Michigan next weekend. Puck drop against the Wolverines is set for 7 p.m. Friday.