The Ohio State Buckeyes (7-6-1, 5-5-1-1) needed a complete 60 minutes of hockey to squeak by the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (9-3-1, 5-3-1-1) 4-3 in front of 2,305 in Value City Arena Friday evening. The loss snaps the Mavericksâ€™ three game winning streak. Ohio State continues their winning play with their fifth win in six games.
Buckeyes’ forward C.J. Severyn scored his first career goal when he flung in the winning goal with 1.1 seconds remaining on the clock. The goal was screened by Buckeyes’ defenseman Matt Bartkowski and forward John Albert. The goal came just 4:13 after Ohio State tied the game at three when Ian Boots’ hard slapper beat the glove of Mavericks’ goaltender Jeremie Dupont.
“You can’t hope for much there,” Severyn said. “You just throw it at the net and hope it goes in, and luckily it did.”
“It was a game of bounces,” Nebraska-Omaha coach Mike Kemp said. “There were bounces both ways and they got the last bounce. I thought both the tying goal and the winning goal, they were fortunate and they capitalized. On the third goal, our defenseman was back and goes to rim it around and it hits a referee… It was one of those games that was not meant to be.”
“It found a way in (on the winning goal) and we found a way to win, and for a young hockey club, that is good,” Ohio State coach John Markell said.
Ohio State had a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission powered by 18 shots on goal. Buckeyes’ forward Hunter Bishop scored on a Mathieu Picard rebound from the low slot at 11:56. Six minutes later, while Ohio State was on a power play, Albert gloved the puck and dished it to forward Sergio Somma. Somma’s goal came with one second remaining on an Eddie Del Grosso penalty.
“(Ohio State) clearly outplayed us in the first period,” Kemp said. “It has been the story of our season, but I am frustrated with our team because they are not coming out with the kind of jam they need to come out with in the first period. Playing on the road, you can’t dig a hole 2-0 and expect to work magic.”
“That is on us to figure it out,” Nebraska-Omaha forward Rich Purslow said of his team’s play in the first period. “We just have to come out as a team and figure it out. I think in warm-ups, we’re a little loose and a little lackadaisical, so I think if we focus a little more in warm-ups, we get our legs going and be fine.”
UNO scored three goals in a row to take the lead in the second. Nebraska-Omaha forward Dan Charleston cut the Ohio State lead in half with a power-play goal at 1:54 in the second on a slap shot that beat Ohio State goaltender Dustin Carlson.
In the middle of the second period, Rich Purslow scored on a 150 feet pass from Eric Olimb behind his own net. Purslow was able to beat Carlson from the right faceoff circle as Ohio State was switching lines.
“Very bad line change,” Markell said. “You are only supposed to change one d(efenseman), I didn’t know what freshman to yell at. You leave one guy out there but they were smart enough to exploit you on that. They were a bit behind our defense.”
Purslow added his second of the game in the middle of the third when his slow backhander beat Carlson on the low glove side. Purslow now has five goals on the season.
“He has been playing well all year,” Kemp said of Purslow. “Again tonight, he was on top of the puck, he was quick to the puck, he was doing the right things. Getting the loose pucks, and then when he got his opportunities, he accelerated on the outside very well to get himself open for shots.”
Overall, goaltending was not an issue for either team. Carlson was 36/39, and Dupont was 34/38. Carlson has been one of the CCHA’s hottest goaltender lately, with a 1.18 GAA in the last six games.
Ohio State is looking for their second consecutive home-series sweep Saturday and hopes to complete the first half of the conference season above .500 and have their best start since 2004-05. For Nebraska-Omaha, they are looking to avoid a sweep after allowing the most goals against all season.
“I think (a win) would really top off the last couple weeks we have had,” Severyn said. “This would really give us a boost of confidence going into Christmas break.”