Hockey Breaks Out For Snowman At BG

The weather outside was frightful but the Ohio State hockey team continued its winning streak against in-state rival Bowling Green Friday night. The Buckeyes scored early and often on the way to posting an 8-5 win that ran their winning streak to nine games.

Ohio State hockey head coach John Markell has seen his fair share of 8-5 games in the BGSU Ice Arena.

The former Falcon was on some of Bowling Green's best – and most high-scoring – teams in the late 1970s, but its safe to say he was a much bigger fan of shootouts when he was donning the Brown and Orange than he is behind the Buckeye bench, where he watched the Scarlet and Gray down the Falcons by an 8-5 count Friday night.

"We outscored a team," he said. "Tonight was good for the fans, tough on the coaches."

The final score will certainly provide the bench boss with some teachable moments, and there have been a fair share already considering the youth of this Buckeye team. The only constant has been winning – the Buckeyes now have won nine in a row and 12 of 13 while improving to 14-6-1 overall and 7-5-1-1 in the CCHA, good enough to hold fifth place on their own.

"It's a work in progress," Markell said of his 15th-ranked team. "I thought we could have scored a couple more and so could they. It was a little bit too much of a shootout for us, but we'll take the two points and keep learning."

Eight different Buckeyes – but not sophomore Hunter Bishop, who entered on a seven-game goal-scoring streak – scored goals and 13 had points for a team that entered tied fifth in the country in scoring at 3.50 goals per game. The Buckeyes have tallied 36 goals over their last six games.

Ian Boots led the squad with a goal and two assists while Patrick Schafer, Peter Boyd and Corey Elkins each had a 1-1-2 line.

"It's good because it's hard (for other teams) to focus on one player," Boyd said of the varied scoring.

BG was led by two goals from defenseman Nick Bailen, a goal and two helpers from Dan Sexton and three assists from Brandon Svendsen. Ohio State goaltender Dustin Carlson made 32 saves while improving to 12-3-0 but the Buckeyes allowed more than four goals for the first time since losing to Michigan, 6-1, on the first day of November, a span of 13 games.

"I think Dusty obviously probably wanted a couple of those back, but the boys stuck a few goals in there," Markell said. "It's how the team responded. They fought for him. That's what you want."

The tone was set for the game on the very first shift when Schafer collected a puck defenseman Matt Bartkowski had shot wide and stuffed it in to the near right post of BG goaltender Jimmy Spratt to give Ohio State a 1-0 lead at 0:26.

The goals came fast and furious from there. Bowling Green took advantage of sloppy OSU play to take a 2-1 lead when Bailen scored from the center point through a screen on the power play at 5:44 and David Solway fired and scored from the right wing at 8:11.

But the Buckeyes awoke and took a 3-2 lead into the intermission. Boyd tied the score at 15:00 when he tucked a rebound into an open net, and Elkins gave the Buckeyes the lead for good 1:27 later by taking Boots' pass in the low right slot and beating Spratt clean.

"I thought we bounced back from some situations, especially when we got up 1-0, down 2-1, we bounced back to make it 3-2," Markell said. "I like the way we were playing then."

Ohio State's top line of John Albert, Kyle Reed and Zac Dalpe started to impose its will in the second. Dalpe potted his team-leading 11th of the year 6:33 into the second to make it 4-2 when he skated in on the left, cut to the middle and crossed up Spratt with a clean strike to the blocker side. C.J. Severyn continued his hot play at 9:25 by collecting his own rebound and firing into an empty net to make it 5-2.

Bailen again scored on the power play to cut into the lead at 10:28, but Albert had the answer just 46 seconds later when he skated into the zone through a crowd, fought off defenders as he made his way toward goal and scored to make it 6-3 and end Spratt's night.

"We always have so many chances out there," Albert said of his line. "Sometimes we're a little snakebit but tonight we got a couple of goals, which is good. We're really playing well as a line."

Even a five-minute major for checking from behind that Dalpe took 1:21 into the third couldn't slow down the Buckeyes as Shane Sims scored shorthanded past Nick Eno, making his season debut after missing the first half because of injury, at 3:05.

Sexton answered with a shorthanded tally of his own at 9:06 and Kai Kantola finally took advantage of his numerous chances with a breakaway goal at 15:07 to make it interesting at 7-5, but Boots empty netter at 18:33 sealed the deal.

Ohio State's win improved its record to 1-0 in play for the Ohio Cup, the annual intrastate trophy sponsored by BSB.

The teams reprise their rivalry tomorrow night at 7:05 in the BGSU Ice Arena.

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