Despite Comeback, Icers Fall At WMU

The Ohio State men's hockey team was hoping to be thankful for a win Friday night, but the Buckeyes will have to settle for progress. A two-goal comeback had OSU poised for at least a point, but late Western Michigan heroics helped the Broncos to a 4-2 win in Kalamazoo, Mich., Friday night.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Ohio State men's hockey team displayed more fire than it has in some time. It still was not enough.

Jeff LoVecchio's goal, his third point of the night, with 6:06 to play was the difference as Western Michigan won a 4-2 decision over the Buckeyes (2-10-1) in front of 2,303 fans in Lawson Ice Arena Friday night.

With the loss, Ohio State fell to 0-7 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association for the first time in program history. The Buckeyes are 0-10-1 in their last 11 games, the longest such streak without a win since an 11-game losing streak in 1999-2000.

LoVecchio's goal came on a breakaway when he worked to the backhand and flipped the puck over a lunging Joe Palmer.

"I missed two breakaways last weekend against Notre Dame, so I was thinking in my head, ‘Don't mess up, idiot,'" the junior said.

Seconds earlier, Ohio State had a chance to take the lead but WMU's Riley Gill made a sterling sprawled save on John Albert. Moments later, Albert's pass was intercepted to set up LoVecchio's goal.

"The guy picked it off and made a breakaway," OSU head coach John Markell said. "We just have to keep playing hard and hopefully bounces will happen for us. That's the game of hockey. We missed an open net and they go down and score a goal."

LoVecchio completed his four-point night with an open-net goal with 17.5 seconds to play.

The late Bronco heroics wasted a fine comeback from Ohio State, a team that has not exactly been able to turn around its fortunes when facing a deficit this year. The Buckeyes got tallies from Albert and Tommy Goebel.

Albert's tally with 2:43 gone in the third period completed a two-goal Ohio State rally when he put home the rebound of a Jason DeSantis shot. The touted freshman from Concord, Ohio, picked a good time to net his first career goal.

Albert's chance at heroics was set up by some hard work on the power play for the Buckeyes. As the second period ticked to a close, defenseman Kyle Hood stormed the net and forced Gill into a save, but Goebel picked through a mess of bodies to slide the puck into the net with 7.8 seconds left in the second frame for his team-leading fifth goal on the season.

For all appearances, the first 39 minutes looked like yet another Buckeye loss. Though the Buckeyes were playing solid defense, Gill wasn't troubled too often. On the other end, Palmer fell victim to two nice goal-scoring chances by WMU.

It took 15:14 of the first period before the first puck hit the net, this one coming when Bronco senior Mike Lesperance completed a 2-on-1 by deking around the lone Ohio State defender and beating Palmer through his legs.

The teams skated with that 1-0 difference until 16:18 was gone in the second. Patrick Galivan's goal from the left post was the result of nifty work by LoVecchio, who worked through the slot before feeding Galivan.

Still, the comeback was important for a team that had given up three-goal rallies in each of its last six games.

"That was a very good thing," Markell said. "We were giving them up in bunches before, and I think Joe made some good saves at that point."

Palmer finished with 19 saves, and Gill had 22. Western could not convert on its five man-advantages while OSU was 1-8.

The teams hit the ice again Saturday night at 7:35 p.m. in Lawson.

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