The Buckeyes still didn't put together a full 60 minutes of hockey, but their offense made sure that a seventh win in eight games and fourth in a row would be assured. C.J. Severyn had two goals and Ohio State pulled away to a 7-4 win against Robert Morris in Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena.
The offensive showing was Ohio State's best since a 9-3 win at Bowling Green in November 2006. Sergio Somma, Shane Sims, Zac Dalpe, Peter Boyd and Hunter Bishop also scored for OSU.
"I thought we missed a lot of opportunities, but they were creating them," head coach John Markell said. "It was just like a feeling like, ‘OK, if we bear down, something good is going to happen,' and it did."
Markell has talked all year of how his young team has had trouble putting together full 60-minute stretches of intensity, and another lapse allowed an early 3-0 lead to shrink to 3-2 before goals 37 seconds apart by Sims and Dalpe late in the second period sealed the deal.
Ohio State improved to 9-6-1, its best record through 16 games in four years, while RMU dropped to 3-9-2.
"It's a great feeling in the locker room," Severyn said. "All of the guys are happy. What can you say? You're going to be happy when you win."
The Buckeyes never trailed and in fact dominated most parts of the game, earning a 40-31 advantage in shots. Still, goaltender Dustin Carlson, fresh off of national player of the month honors, was called into duty at times.
The first two goals that eluded him were hardly his fault, more the result of sloppiness on the defensive end for the Buckeyes. The first came when RMU's leading goal scorer, Chris Margott, danced into the deep slot and scored his sixth of the year against a deserted Carlson at 11:00 of the second period to make the score 3-1.
The Colonials got another on the power play at 13:08 when Nathan Longpre blasted his fifth goal of the season over Carlson's near shoulder from the right circle.
With the score 3-2, Ohio State needed a response and got it. Nine seconds into a power play Sims' shot from the center point deflected in front and beat goaltender Wes Russell at 16:54.
"We take a needless penalty and they capitalize," Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley said. "That's what good teams do."
Moments later, Ohio State earned a 2-on-1 odd-man rush, and Dalpe took it the length of the ice and sent a laser over Russell's shoulder that ended the goalkeeper's night – and RMU's chances. The goal was the team-leading eighth for the freshman.
Ohio State didn't look like it would need such an answer after its early dominance. Severyn, a sophomore who scored his first career OSU goal in his 38th game two contests ago against Nebraska-Omaha, got his second career tally just 34 seconds into the game, taking possession of the puck at his blue line, skating to the top of the right circle and unleashing a rocket that beat Russell.
After the Buckeyes killed off two different 5-on-3 chances for RMU that totaled 2:51, Somma netted his third of the year 16:17 into the first, taking advantage of shoddy defending by scoring unmolested in the slot on a pass from Boyd.
Severyn made it 3-0 7:33 into the second when he skated into the slot from the right side and sent a dribbler through Russell's legs. Linemate Cory Schneider assisted to earn his first career point.
"I can't complain," Severyn said of his recent goal-scoring form. "I'd say mostly it's a little more confidence in my game. I'm doing a little extra work here and there around the rink, before practice and after practice."
After a listless 14 minutes to start the third period, the teams went back and forth in short order to complete the scoring. Boyd started off the run by beating Russell's replacement, Brooks Ostergard, from the slot at 5:49. Twenty seconds later, RMU defenseman Dave Cowan beat Carlson through a screen to make it 6-3, but a nicely constructed Ohio State rush answered at 5:00 even when Bishop took Ian Boots' pass in the slot and clinically beat Ostergard.
The scoring was completed when Kyle Burton's rebound shot beat Carlson at 17:25 with Robert Morris on its third 5-on-3 of the game.
"We gave up too many goals for my liking, but we scored seven, which is nice," Markell said. "Sometimes you need games like this for guys to get going."
Robert Morris was forced to switch goaltenders for the second time this year in as many games against Ohio State. Russell made 21 saves and Ostergard 12, while Carlson had a game-high 27.
Fifteen of those saves came on the power play, as RMU was 2 for 8 with 17 shots. OSU converted 1 of 4 power play chances.
The teams played the game as part of a doubleheader with the AHL's Lake Erie Monsters and Iowa Chops.