The Buckeyes responded Friday night in Value City Arena, getting to the net early and often to the tune of 18 first-period shots and two goals in the frame. By the time the game was over, Ohio State had rebounded from a sweep at Northern Michigan last weekend with a 6-2 win against Alabama-Huntsville.
The Buckeyes' goal tally was a season high – and could have been more if not for a few posts that rang aloud – and most of them came right in front of the net, just the way head coach Mark Osiecki wants it.
"At Northern, that was an area that probably was the reason why we did not win," he said. "Our forwards were not hungry in that area. We did not get to that area. We talked about that. (Assistant coaches Steve Rohlik and Steve Brent) took a marker and drew it on the ice at practice and we definitely talked about that area of the game, that area of the ice, that we have to at least get to."
Peter Boyd had two goals, Danny Dries had four points and freshman Alex Szczechura had his first career tally as the OSU top line had four markers on the night. They accomplished those lofty totals by listening to the staff's lessons.
"That's definitely something we've been talking about," Dries said. "You look at the college game, a good majority of the goals are scored right around the crease. (Freshman) Chris Crane put our sticks in the garbage can before the game. (He said), ‘Get a couple of garbage goals tonight,' so it worked out."
The Buckeyes (3-5-0) had the jump from the start, not allowing a shot until almost nine minutes were gone. By then, Ohio State had a 2-0 lead behind tallies from Sergio Somma – who deposited his team-best sixth on a rebound just 2:10 in – and Dries, who put in a rebound on the power play at 7:16.
"We did a good job in the first period, and it was good to put some pucks in the net," Boyd said. "We get a few quick goals there, and it was good to see."
Alabama-Huntsville at least stopped momentum and made it 2-1 with the lone goal in the second period – Jamie Easton buried a rebound of his own – before the Buckeyes exploded in the third.
First, Boyd gave the Buckeyes breathing room just 1:12 into the frame, but most of the work was done by Szczechura and Dries. The former dropped a nice pass to the latter crossing the blue line, and Dries' blast was stopped by UAH goaltender Clarke Saunders but trickled behind him for Boyd to poke in during a scrum.
Freshman Alex Lippincott made it 4-1 at 3:25, taking a puck off the back dasher and stuffing it in short-side to Saunders' right.
The Chargers scored on the power play at 5:18 when Tom Durnie's power-play wrister beat Cal Heeter, but Boyd's man-up tally at 10:26 – a clinical wrister from the slot – made it 5-2.
Finally, Szczechura got off the schneid at 13:09, taking Dries' pass at the doorstep on the right and lifting a no-look backhander in from close range.
Dries immediately went to the referee and grabbed the puck for the freshman.
"I wanted to make sure he got it," Dries said with a smile. "He does all the little things well. He's been playing a good team game, and it's good for him to get one. I'm sure it'll keep going. The first one is always the toughest."
Ohio State outshot the Chargers by a 41-15 margin, keeping the visitors to only five shots in each period.
"When you don't match (their effort), it puts you second to the puck all over the ice," said Alabama-Huntsville coach Chris Luongo, who saw his team fall to 1-7-1. "Sporadic effort usually doesn't pay off. It's awful hard once you've allowed a team to generate momentum and confidence to turn that back."
Ohio State was also 2 for 7 on the power play, while Heeter made 13 saves. The teams conclude the nonconference series Friday night at 7 p.m. in Value City Arena.