After taking a 2-1 lead into the first intermission, Ohio State allowed the Saints three unanswered goals on their way to a 5-4 win in front of 2,479 fans in the Buckeyes' last home game before the Christmas break.
Despite that strong start, the Buckeyes never quite got momentum going while falling to 1-7 in their home building.
"We have not played at home anything like we're playing on the road," said head coach John Markell. "Nothing like we're playing on the road. I'll give them Friday night on exams, but what was it tonight?"
Unlike last night when the Buckeyes, coming off their exam week, struggled early before rebounding for a 3-2, overtime win, this time it was St. Lawrence who withstood early hiccups on the way to improving to 6-8-3 and leaving their coach looking weary postgame.
"Every single night…" Joe Marsh said while exhaling about his team's close calls. "It was a pretty good effort to come back. We got some pretty good goals. I think at certain times we competed a little bit better. There was a little more sense of urgency to things."
OSU dropped to 5-12-1 despite goals from Corey Elkins, Patrick Schafer, and seniors John Dingle and Tommy Goebel. Elkins and Schafer hit mesh in the first period, a mere prelude to the Saints' offensive explosion.
The onslaught started just 2:30 into the second thanks to Jordan Hack, who walked out from behind Joseph Palmer's net and snuck one shortside over the OSU netminder's glove to knot the score at 2.
Specialty teams made the difference from there when defenseman Jared Ross gave the Saints a 3-2 lead with 15:36 to go in the second with a power-play wrister from the left point that got by Palmer's blocker and Zach Miskovic scored shorthanded 2:45 into the third on a centering pass from Hack.
Dingle put a rebound of a Peter Boyd shot between the legs of SLU goaltender John Hallas 6:10 into the third, but St. Lawrence forward Casey Parenteau earned the game winner, his eighth goal of the year, on a fantastic feed from Kevin DeVergilio while the Saints held a man advantage with 9:32 left. The Saints finished 2 for 4 on the power play despite entering at just 11.9 percent on the power play.
Buckeye senior Goebel got OSU back within one with 7:21 to go when he took an outlet feed from Palmer, skated up the right side and sent a rocket toward goal that Hallas got a piece of but could not keep out of the net. The tally was Goebel's second of the weekend and his team-leading ninth of the year, while Palmer's assist was his second of the year.
The Buckeyes nearly tied with a minute and a half left but Schafer was stoned by Hallas on a 2-on-1 feed from John Albert and Boyd overskated the rebound with Hallas down and out. With 3:40 to play, the Buckeyes were threatening before a questionable penalty was called on freshman defenseman Chris Reed, and dangerous scorer Tom Fritsche was assessed a 10-minute misconduct for arguing, leaving him off the ice in the late going.
All in all, OSU had 17 shots on net in the third, doubling their total of 15 through two periods.
"Seventeen shots in the third period when our backs are against the wall," Markell said. "What's that remind you of? On the road. All of a sudden we're on the road and we're getting shots toward the net."
Ohio State looked like it would have the run of things in the early going. It took just 67 seconds – OSU's earliest goal of the year – for the Buckeyes to break through, this goal coming from the Corey connection. Defenseman Corey Toy got two shots from the point, the first of which rebounded to him and the second of which was tipped behind John Hallas by Elkins.
The Buckeyes appeared to add another 9:59 into the game, but an inadvertent whistle by referee Tim Kotyra came a second before Albert put in a spilled rebound by Hallas.
Kotyra had a big impact on St. Lawrence's equalizer with 7:14 left in the period; in fact, the referee never saw the first career goal from Aaron Bogosian, who took a nifty cross-crease feed from Hack and, after a splendid save on his first effort by Palmer, snuck the rebound under the crossbar. The goal light stayed off and play continued – and included a shot off the post behind Palmer by Saint Matt Generous – until the next whistle, when video review confirmed Bogosian's goal.
Ohio State pulled the goal back late in the period. Freshman C.J. Severyn hit the post while looking for his first career goal, and 40 seconds later classmate Shane Sims did the same, but Schafer was there to put in Sims' rebound with 1:40 left in the period.
The Buckeyes are done with their pre-Christmas home slate but do trip to Alaska to face the Nanooks in Fairbanks Friday and Saturday nights. The Nanooks are coming off of a 3-0 win over No. 1 Miami (Ohio) Saturday night. The Buckeyes return home Dec. 29-30 for the Ohio Hockey Classic, which will be held in Value City Arena for the first time.