Head coach John Markell was fine with that.
Whereas the '80s were known for wide-open hockey and high scores, the Buckeyes of current vintage played a textbook defensive game against the Golden Knights, allowing just 24 shots on the way to a 2-0 win in front of a season-high 4,902 fans in Value City Arena.
"I thought our defense played well," Markell said. "We were on our gaps. We were on our forechecks. I thought we played smart."
The championship win was the second in the five years of the tournament for Ohio State (13-6-1), which defeated Army a night before in the opening round to reach the title game.
"It's definitely something smaller in the big picture, but it was nice to come back after break and win those first two games," said Hunter Bishop, who made the all-tournament team along with Buckeye forward Corey Elkins (the tourney's MVP), defenseman Shane Sims and goaltender Dustin Carlson. "We talked a lot before break that we wanted to come out and have a good second half, and that was the start we wanted."
The Buckeyes won their eighth game in a row and 11th of 12 while extending their home winning streak to nine games.
Columbus might be starting to take notice. This year's OHC drew more than 1,000 more fans than last year's version, and the games were the two best-attended home games this year for the Scarlet and Gray.
"It was awesome," Bishop said. "Walking out to the bench you could hear a difference in the crowd even before we got out. I love it when there's fans in the stands. I hope we can keep raising the fan base for the second half."
The sophomore transfer gave the fans reason to make noise early when he potted the Buckeyes' opening goal at the 7:22 mark of the first period. Sims' shot from the point was stopped by Golden Knights' netminder Paul Karpowich, but the rebound sat in the slot for a full beat before Bishop's diving attempt in front of a defenseman knocked the puck in toward the left post.
"I went for the leap and ended up getting lucky," Bishop said.
The goal was Bishop's ninth of the year and ran his scoring streak to seven games.
His line continued its dominating play of late. He, Elkins and Ian Boots were all over the ice creating chances after accounting for three goals the night before. They could have had the same number tonight but both Boots and Elkins hit the post.
"Even at the end there after we had won, Elkins and I were kind of saying, ‘Good game,' to each other and one of the things we said was, ‘Let's keep this going,' " Bishop said. "Our line is clicking right now. That's something every line wants to achieve eventually, and I think we have that going on right now."
The rest of the evening turned into a battle of goaltenders. Karpowich ended up making 32 saves a night after standing on his head during a 4-2 win against No. 2 Miami (Ohio).
"I thought it was an outstanding weekend for Paul," Clarkson head coach George Roll said. "He gave us a chance to win both games."
But Carlson was equal to the task while stopping all 24 Clarkson (3-11-4) shots on the way to his 11th win of the year and fourth shutout. He didn't have to do much because of Ohio State's staunch defense – the Buckeyes denied six Clarkson power plays, most with ease – until the Golden Knights earned a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:22 near the midpoint of the third period.
The sophomore was game, stopping four shots during the span. Three were point-blank chances and the other was a ripped slap shot from the right boards by Chris D'Alvise that Carlson snagged out of the air with some flair.
"I thought that was the key moment of the game," Carlson said. "I was going to have to step up and stop some shots."
Carlson was great again with 1:25 to go when he stared down Phil Paquet's sharp-angle slapper from the left boards. Standing straight up, he closed his pads together to make the stop and then, worried that the puck was trickling through, flopped to his backside to send the disk flying away from danger.
Moments later – at 19:19 to be exact – freshman Zac Dalpe scored into an empty net to become the first Buckeye to reach 10 goals this season. Dalpe has all three OSU empty net goals this year.
The Buckeyes are next in action at Bowling Green next Friday and Saturday.
ARMY 3, MIAMI 2
The second-ranked RedHawks entered the OHC on an eight-game winning streak and left wounded after absorbing a stunning 3-2 loss to Army in the consolation game of the OHC.
Miami (12-5-3) had its own sloppy defense and Army's Cody Omilusik to blame. Omilusik scored his eighth and ninth goals, the first while shorthanded, in the second period to give the Black Knights a 2-0 lead.
The RedHawks fought back, as Andy Miele scored in the second period and Pat Cannone tallied unassisted with 15:39 to go to knot the score. But just 50 seconds later, Army (5-12-1) tallied another shorthanded goal, this one the game winner off the stick of Eric Sefchik.
Omilusik made the all-tournament team, as did Clarkson defenseman Bryan Rufenach.