Peter Boyd scored two third-period goals, among them his fourth game-winner of the year, as Ohio State battled to a 4-2 win over in-state rival Bowling Green in front of a rather vocal crowd of 7,450 at Value City Arena.
"Just right place, right time I guess," said Boyd. "I think all 20 guys tonight played well. I was just able to get the last one."
Boyd's tallies, both high on entertainment value, capped a third period – and a game, really – that belonged to Ohio State. The Buckeyes (9-19-2, 5-14-1 Central Collegiate Hockey Association) put 15 shots on net in the third period and 44 for the game.
But Ohio State, despite all its pressure, could not solve BG netminder Nick Eno until a spectacular goal by Boyd with 4:21 remaining, moments after an uncalled high stick by Boyd knocked Falcon defenseman Michael Hogdson to the ice.
With Hodgson out of the picture, Sergio Somma grabbed the puck in the corner and fed Jason DeSantis at the left point. His shot hit Boyd in the shoulder and dropped to the ice. Boyd blindly backhanded the puck into the net with his back to goal and Falcon defenseman Mike Nesdill all over him.
Afterward, Boyd, who never saw his goal go in, skated to the right-wing boards and jumped into them at full speed in excitement before being mobbed by his teammates.
"Just emotions," Boyd said. "It happens, I guess. I'm the type of guy that gets pretty excited after a goal."
He added the second with 2:11 to play, completing a 2-on-1 with classmate Todd Rudasill by putting Rudasill's rebound behind Eno.
The physical game at times devolved into pushing, shoving, slashing and the occasional fisticuff – not that the spectators minded – that boiled over with 30.3 seconds left with a scrum in which Ohio State's leading scorer, Tommy Goebel, got a few good whacks in on BG's James Perkin. The fight shown by Ohio State came in stark contrast to the Friday opener, a 5-2 loss after which head coach John Markell was highly critical of his team.
His tune was changed after this contest.
"Obviously, we're very happy with the win and how we did it, and we have to build on that," Markell said.
The points on the Buckeyes' first two goals all went to Ohioans. Parma native Nick Biondo scored his second goal of the weekend 4:33 into play when he took a pass from Rudasill, a Columbus native, skated to the low left circle and beat Eno on a power play. Parma native Tom Fritsche earned the second assist.
Bowling Green answered at 9:37 after a turnover by Biondo with a goal by James Perkin in a scramble to the left on OSU netminder Joseph Palmer, and the Falcons took the lead 3:19 into the second when Tomas Petruska sniped a shot short side from the right over Palmer's shoulder.
The Buckeyes both equalized and grabbed momentum with 1:55 to go in the second. Rudasill, who finished with three assists, fed Concord native John Albert at Eno's right post. A couple whacks at the puck by Albert couldn't find paydirt, but Goebel, a Parma native, snuck in and slipped the puck around Eno for his team-leading 17th tally and his 50th career goal.
Palmer, who did not start the series opener, finished with 27 saves, while Eno denied 40 pucks entry into the cage. Bowling Green (13-13, 10-10) was held to 0 for 5 on the power play, extending their fruitless man-advantage streak to 41 tries, while OSU was 1 for 4.
Tenth-place Ohio State moved up to 11 points, still five behind Northern Michigan for the final home-ice spot in the CCHA playoff first round, with eight league games to play. The Buckeyes next hit the road for a two-game series at fifth-place Nebraska-Omaha Feb. 8-9.