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Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Observer

No. 8 Irish split weekend series against Buckeyes

The No. 8 Irish hockey team (11-4, 5-3-0-2-0-0 B1G) split their weekend series against the No. 18 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-5, 5-3-0-0-0-0 B1G). After losing their first game by a score of 4-2, the Irish bounced back to beat the Buckeyes by a convincing 5-1 scoreline.

Irish fall in game one

On Friday night, the Irish outshot the Buckeyes 36-28, but the Buckeyes capitalized off of their chances to earn a relatively comfortable 4-2 win. The Buckeyes were two for five on the penalty kill on the night, while the Irish were unable to score on the power play. Ultimately, that proved to be the difference on Friday.

Early on, it looked like the Irish were going to control this one. They dominated early on in the first period. Sophomore forward Ryder Rolston got the Irish on the board at the 7:41 mark of the first period with a wrister from the far boards. That goal was Rolston’s fifth of the year. He got assists from senior forward Graham Slaggert and senior defenseman Nick Leivermann.

The Buckeyes were able to gain momentum at the end of the first period, however, and grabbed a 2-1 lead at the end of the period. This came from goals from Kamil Sadlocha at the 12:34 mark and Travis Treloar at the 15:27 mark.

To start the second period, the Irish successfully killed off an Ohio State penalty with graduate student goaltender Matthew Galajda making a couple of big saves.

The Irish had their first power play of the game, and sophomore forward Grant Silianoff had a great look, but he was denied by Michigan goaltender Jakub Dobes.

The Buckeyes were then able to extend their lead to 3-1 in the middle of the second period. Georgii Merkulov slipped a shot past Galajda. The Buckeyes then scored another power-play goal a couple of minutes later to take a commanding 4-1 lead into the third period.

The Irish were able to cut the Buckeyes lead to 4-2. They used an extra attacker at the 18:42 mark of the third period with junior forward Max Ellis scoring his 11th goal of the season. When all was said and done, though, the Irish were unable to mount a comeback and the game ended at 4-2.

Turning the tide on night two

The Irish were able to right the ship on Saturday night and beat the Buckeyes in dominating fashion by a score of 5-1.

The Irish got a 2-0 lead early in the first period. They used that momentum to dominate throughout the entire game.

To start the game, the Irish were dominant, and they were constantly on the attack in the Buckeyes’ zone. After a couple of saved shots, Leivermann was finally able to score to give the Irish an early 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.

Minutes later, the Irish got their first power play of the game. The Irish capitalized immediately with Rolston finding the back of the net to give the Irish a 2-0 lead. The play was set up from a faceoff win in the Buckeyes’ zone with Leivermann and Ellis setting up the score.

The Buckeyes showed some fight at the end of the first period. They scored off of a faceoff at the 7:37 mark of the period to cut the lead in half.

The Irish generated another power-play opportunity later in the first period, but the Buckeyes held strong this time. Their hold forced the Irish to take a 2-1 lead into the second period.

The Irish handed the Buckeyes their first power play of the night early on in the second period, but junior goaltender Ryan Bischel made a couple of nice saves to retain the lead for the Irish.

Sophomore forward Landon Slaggert scored for the Irish midway through the second period to open up the score to 3-1. The goal was set up by Slaggert, who got a steal at the defensive blue line, which sent his brother Landon streaking towards the Ohio State goal. Graham then sent a pass that hit Landon in stride to set up a close-range goal.

Later on in the second period, the Irish took a convincing 4-1 lead off of a goal from senior forward Cam Burke. Burke was assisted by graduate student defenseman Adam Karashik and freshman defenseman Jake Boltmann.

The Irish found the back of the net again in the third period. This became possible as a Buckeyes’ goaltender interference call gave the Irish a power play. It was junior forward Jesse Lansdell that found the back of the net to give the Irish a 5-1 lead.

Despite awarding the Buckeyes a couple of power plays in the third period, the Irish held strong to secure a 5-1 win and avoid the series sweep to the Buckeyes.

Head coach Jeff Jackson said he was pleased with his team’s ability to bounce back after a disappointing loss on Friday.

“I thought we played a good 60-minute hockey game,” Jackson said. “We’re getting scoring from every line; it was good to see the power play have success and the penalty kill got back on track tonight, and if you’re going to win you need to have good special teams.”

With the win, the Irish remain fourth in the Big Ten standings, but they are now within two points of the Buckeyes, who sit third in the standings.

The Irish will end their first half of the season next weekend against Michigan State. The teams face off at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 and 7:00 p.m. on Dec. 11 at the Compton Family Ice Arena.