Late Rally Can't Save Buckeyes

The Ohio State hockey team was excited to get a chance to play in the NCAA tournament, but No. 1 Boston University made sure the Buckeyes had a short stay. BU jumped out to a 6-0 lead and staved off a late Buckeye rally, scoring two empty-net goals to seal an 8-3 win.

Ohio State men's hockey head coach John Markell was worried about his team being in awe of No. 1 overall seed Boston University in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday.

His counterpart, BU's Jack Parker, was worried about his team of future NHLers taking parts of the game off.

As it turned out, both coaches had reason to worry, but the team with more overall talent won the day.

BU got out to a 6-0 lead in the second period and eliminated the Buckeyes, the fourth seed in the Northeast Regional, by an 8-3 final at the Verizon Wireless Center in Manchester, N.H. The Terriers, who won their 32nd game of the season, will move on to face New Hampshire in the regional final, while OSU's season ends at 23-15-4.

The Terriers, champions of Hockey East and the Beanpot tournament, are widely accepted as the best team in college hockey this year, and the big, skilled squad with numerous NHL draft picks and two Hober Baker Award finalists did little to turn aside that thought by chasing Ohio State's Dustin Carlson 27 minutes into the game.

Jason Lawrence and Zach Cohen scored twice for the Terriers, while the Buckeyes got goals from senior Zach Pelletier – who played his final game along with Nick Biondo and Corey Elkins – as well as Hunter Bishop and Matt Bartkowski.

The Buckeyes, featuring 22 freshmen and sophomores among their 27 players, were happy to get to the NCAA tournament after a 12-25-4 season last year, but the opening round game against BU turned into a disaster early as the Terriers jumped out to the 6-0 lead.

Ohio State did stage a comeback that halved the Terriers' lead and put BU on its heels before two empty-net goals set the final score.

The Buckeye rally started at 15:12 of the second period when Elkins stormed down the middle of the ice and then fed Bishop along the left wing for a quick shot from the circle that got past the arm of BU goaltender Kieran Millan for the sophomore's 14th goal of the season.

Pelletier got his goal with 1:17 left in the second, putting in a loose puck off a faceoff win in the BU zone for his fifth goal of the year.

Finally, Bartkowski scored on the power play with 8:48 left with a heavy blast that hit a stick and then the crossbar before falling into the net.

The Buckeyes then rolled the dice by pulling backup goalie Cal Heeter with seven minutes to go, but the move backfired with back-to-back empty-net goals by Cohen and Chris Higgins.

That Ohio State would even have a rally looked unlikely early as BU scored twice in the first and the second.

The initial goal came on the power play 8:48 into the game when Nick Bonino scored from the right faceoff dot over Carlson's glove with Biondo in the box. Just 45 seconds later, a 2-on-1 rush for BU after Ian Boots' dump-in attempt was knocked down was completed with Lawrence scoring past Carlson.

At 13:17, Cohen got his first goal of the game. Two OSU clearing attempts failed before a shot from the point went to Cohen in the right circle for the goal.

Millan kept it a 3-0 game a few minutes later with a fantastic post-to-post save on C.J. Severyn, who was fed by Pelletier.

Corey Trevino (5:57) and Brandon Yip (7:01) scored just more than a minute apart to make it 5-0 in the second and chase Carlson after five saves on 14 shots, though the sophomore goaltender didn't get much help from his teammates.

Heeter was greeted rudely when Colin Wilson, BU's top scorer and the favorite for the Hobey Baker, set up Lawrence's 23rd goal of the year from in close. Heeter, a freshman, came back to stop 10 of the 11 shots he faced.

Notes: Matt Gilroy of BU, one of the top defensemen in college hockey, had four assists. … Ohio State had just one shot in the first 13 minutes. … Millen ended with 22 saves on 25 shot attempts. … The Terriers entered with the best combined special teams in college hockey and proved it, going 1 for 2 on the power play and killing eight of nine penalties. … Ohio State sophomore defenseman Corey Toy did not play because of a violation of team rules. … Bishop also had an assist but was minus-4, as were Bartkowski and Boots.

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