Ohio State sophomore Kyle Reed ended a three month scoring drought 2:44 into the overtime period to lift his Buckeyes past the Bowling Green Falcons, 4-3, at the BG Ice Arena Friday night.
Midway through the overtime period, the sophomore winger from Calgary, Alberta found the puck on his stick just outside the left post. He was able to jam it between Falcons’ goaltender Nick Eno and the post to give Ohio State their 10th consecutive win and first road sweep of the year.
“Corey Toy came off the point and took the first shot and it was blocked,” said Reed. “He fired the puck back on net. I turned, the rebound came to me, and I just put it in.
“That’s our first sweep on the road in God knows how long. It’s a great feeling in the room. The guys are just pushing to win each game. It’s a great feeling.”
“We knew it was going to be a tougher game than last night,” said Ohio State coach John Markell. “Bowling Green played a great game. I thought we fought hard for it. It was an energetic game. We had to kill off a lot of penalties. In the overtime, we took a little bit more of an aggressive approach and it paid off for us.”
“There were a couple of loose pucks we couldn’t quite get to,” said BG coach Scott Paluch. “There were some pucks that looked like they were going to go our way, in our favor, but they ended up going their way. They’re a good team. ”
Clinging to a 3-2 lead through much of the third period, the Buckeyes played much of the stanza on their heels as the Falcons controlled most of the play in their offensive zone.
Pulling the goaltender late in the third period, the Falcons’ Dan Sexton was able to tie the game for the Falcons at 18:51 of the third period. The first-line winger drove a shot from the top of the left circle that deflected off the Buckeyes’ Shane Sims past a surprised Carlson. The unassisted goal was Sexton’s 10th of the year.
Allowing the goal seemed to spark the Buckeyes, as they began play in overtime. Ohio State was relentless in their offensive zone, firing shot after shot into the defense of the Falcons. Finally, the BG defense, which had bent a number of times, broke against the weight of the Buckeyes’ attack.
“We just settled down and played a little bit better hockey in the last five minutes,” said Markell. “That was some of our best hockey. You just chip things deep and go after it. The guys took care of the pucks and created opportunities for themselves.”
Both goaltenders played well. Dustin Carlson recorded his 13th win of the year, stopping 22 of the 25 Falcon shots he faced.
Making his first start of the season after suffering a high ankle sprain in October, Eno kept his Falcons in the game, making a handful of above-average saves throughout the night. He finished with 21 saves.
“You saw the difference, the way they play with him in net,” said Markell of the BG netminder. “He’s very solid. I’m sure as he gets in better and better shape, he’s going to get right back into form. Scott [Paluch is] going to be looking for that, as goaltending is such an important part of any team.”
The Bowling Green power play unit, while not scoring any goals, looked strong, putting eight shots on net.
“We did a decent job of picking up where we were yesterday,” said Paluch. “One thing we couldn’t do as well today was get pucks through to the net. When we made that second or third pass and there was an opening, [Ohio State] got in the lane pretty well. We just couldn’t get enough pucks down to the net like we did last night.”
The Falcons struck first at 4:13 of the opening period. Junior Kai Kantola netted his second goal of the weekend, a backhander from the left circle that found the left side of the net. Tomas Petruska and Russ Sinkewich assisted on the play.
Ohio State knotted the game at one just over four minutes later. Rookie winger Zac Dalpe found the net for the 12th time this season, firing a slap shot from the left circle that beat Eno stick side. John Albert assisted.
Playing short-handed, Bowling Green regained the lead at 15:04 of the period when Kevin Schmidt found his own rebound off a slap shot from the right circle. He lifted the puck over a sprawling Carlson for his third goal of the year.
The Buckeyes lit the lamp twice in the second period to take a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes of play.
Sergio Somma struck first with a power-play tally when teammate Shane Sims fired a shot from the point, missing the net, and finding the end boards. The puck bounced right to Somma, who was camped at the side of the net. He found the back of the net for his sixth goal of the year.
“We’ve been working on [our power play], and it’s nice to see some payback for it,” explained Markell. “The smart play was to shoot it wide, and we ended up being able to jam it in there a la the Detroit Red Wings. They have lively boards here and our guys were smart enough to know that.”
Sims gave the Buckeyes the lead at 8:36 with a five-on-three power play goal. The East Amherst, N.Y. native blasted a shot from between the circles that Eno was only able to slow down. The puck trickled just inside the right post for a 3-2 Buckeyes’ lead.