Trailing 3-0, the Buckeyes received a five-minute power play thanks to a major penalty for checking from behind taken by Nebraska-Omaha's Pasko Skarica. Twelve seconds into the man advantage, Buckeye freshman Peter Boyd scored a goal. For the next 4:48, OSU had a grand total of zero shots on net.
The moral of the story: a moment of promise led to a strong start before all the good vibes totally fizzed away.
The fizzling in the grand scheme of things continued as OSU dropped a 5-2 decision to the visiting Mavericks in front of 3,903 fans. The Mavs, who are now 3-5 overall and 2-4 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, swept the Buckeyes, who are now working on some historic ineptitudes: they have lost eight straight games, been swept by four straight teams in two-game series, are 0-6 in the CCHA and 0-5 in Value City Arena.
The Buckeyes have not won since Oct. 13, a 5-3 win over then-No. 15 Wisconsin that captured the title of the Lefty McFadden College Hockey Invitational in suburban Dayton, Ohio. That win came nearly a month ago, but it might as well have been a lifetime.
"Things just keep going and going, but obviously you have to put a stop to that somewhere," said captain Matt McIlvane, one of the few OSU upperclassmen who is showing much of a pulse on the ice. "Obviously the personnel hasn't changed, but it's what's between the ears that has changed, our belief in ourselves when things are going astray."
The same problems plagued Ohio State that has during the past four losses to UNO and Ferris State, teams that came into the VCA with one league win between them. The goaltending, this time with freshman Dustin Carlson in net, was spotty, the defense sometimes hung Carlson out the dry and the forwards had trouble generating consistent offense.
Head coach John Markell juggled the lineup. Carlson's start was the first by an OSU netminder who is not named Joseph Palmer on the season. Senior Kyle Hood, who took two penalties while the Buckeyes held power-play advantages Thursday night, was benched, as was freshman defenseman Erick Belanger. Senior Tommy Goebel returned to the lineup after missing last night because of injury, but freshmen Kyle Reed and Shane Sims continue to fight injuries.
"Obviously we have to get some players being held accountable for the way they're playing," Markell said. "I have a limited number of upperclassmen and some of them aren't giving us what we need."
Maverick forward Mick Lawrence, who missed the Thursday game because of team discipline after waking up light for the flight to Columbus, had two goals, while UNO leading scorer Bryan Marshall had his first goal of the year and two assists to boost his season total to 10. Defenseman Ed DelGrosso had a goal and an assist for UNO, as did McIlvane for the Buckeyes.
For the fifth time in as many home games, the Buckeyes allowed the opposition to score three goals in a row, this time with the trio starting the scoring. Lawrence started the scoring at 10:50 of the first when he banked a puck into the net off the back of Carlson while the Mavs held a 4-on-3 advantage.
In the second, goals came fast early on. Marshall netted at 1:06 when he put home Brandon Scero's rebound, then Dan Charleston completed a breakaway at 3:13 by dancing around Carlson left to right and tapping the puck home.
Skarica took his penalty 25 seconds later, leading to Boyd's tally from the right circle off a sweet pass from McIlvane. However, the power play's incompetence conspired to keep OSU from mounting a serious charge.
"The whole sequence there was huge," UNO head coach Mike Kemp said.
"I thought our passing on that power play wasn't crisp," Markell said. "The break in was out of sync."
Lawrence got goal No. 2 on the night 2:13 into the third on a power play to essentially seal the deal. McIlvane earned his third of the year 8:00 into the period by putting home Todd Rudasill's rebound, but DelGrosso snuck a softie through Carlson from 40 feet on the left at 14:26.
Carlson made 28 saves, while Maverick Jerad Kauffmann moved to 2-0 on the weekend by stopping 24 pucks. OSU was 1-7 on the power play, while UNO was 2-6 to push its total of man-advantage tallies to five on the weekend.
The Buckeyes return to action Nov. 16 in Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena against Robert Morris, then take to the VCA ice on the 18th against those same Colonials.