Hockey: No. 8 Notre Dame stunned by Ohio State 4-2 after almost two-week layoff
SOUTH BEND — Even with new football coach Marcus Freeman and his family in the house, No. 8 Notre Dame couldn’t find any answers against Freeman’s alma mater, Ohio State, in their Friday night’s Big Ten Hockey Conference game.
The No. 18 Buckeyes rallied from a 1-0 deficit after Freeman was introduced midway through the first period, scoring four unanswered goals, two of them on power plays, to end Notre Dame’s six-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory at the Lefty Smith Rink in the Compton Family Ice Arena.
Playing for the first time since their Nov. 19-20 sweep (a pair of overtime victories) at then top-ranked Michigan, Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson’s worst fears came true.
After losing a post-Thanksgiving home game with Boston College because of the Eagles’ COVID-19 concerns, Jackson wondered if his Irish (10-4 overall, 4-3-0 Big Ten for 10 points) might struggled against coach Steve Rohlik’s improved No. 18 Buckeyes (9-4-0, 5-2-0 for 15 points), who were picked to finish last in the seven-team Big Ten race.
The Irish did despite starting the game with a 10-2 edge in shots in the first 9:58. After that, Notre Dame and Ohio State were dead even in shots at 28 each, with the Irish outshooting the Buckeyes 36-28.
“When you’re playing well, you want to keep playing,” Jackson said. “It didn’t show up in the first 10 minutes” when the Irish took a 1-0 lead on Ryder Rolston’s fifth goal of the season at 7:41 of the first period.
“But it showed up after that,” Jackson continued. “We were not sharp. We were flat-footed, but they’re a good team.”
Kamil Sadlocha (12:34) and Travis Treloar (on the power play at 15:27) scored against graduate goalie Matthew Galajda, making his first appearance in three weeks, in the first period.
“Matthew hasn’t played in three weeks (since a 2-0 shutout of Wisconsin Nov. 13),” added Jackson, whose team played without junior center Solag Bakich, who was ill and unavailable. The Irish coach had to adjust his lines and penalty-kill unit because of Bakich’s absence, and it showed.
Then Ohio State got second-period goals from Georgii Merkulov (12:16) and Will Riedell (on the power play at 15:54) to grab a 4-1 lead after two periods. Despite being outshot 13-7 in the final period, Ohio State’s 6-foot-4 freshman goalie Jacob Dobeš didn’t surrender a goal until Max Ellis scored his team-high 11th with 1:18 remaining in regulation.
OHIO STATE 4, NOTRE DAME 2
At Lefty Smith Rink in Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend
Ohio State 2 | 2 | 0 — 4
Notre Dame 1 | 0 | 1 — 0
First Period — Scoring: 1. Notre Dame, Ryder Rolston 5 (Graham Slaggert, Nick Leivermann) EV 7:41. 2. Ohio State, Kamil Sadlocha 4 (Cam Thiesing, Quinn Preston) EV 12:34. 3. Ohio State, Travis Treloar 5 (Jake Wise, Mason Lohrei) PP 15:27. Penalties: Ohio State 0-0, Notre Dame 1-2.
Second Period — Scoring: 4. Ohio State, Georgii Merkulov 4 (Cam Thiesing, Mason Lohrei) EV 12:16. 5. Ohio State, Will Riedell 2 (Joe Dunlap, Grant Gabriele) PP 15:54. Penalties (total): Ohio State 1-2 (1-2), Notre Dame 3-6 (4-8).
Third Period—Scoring: 6. Notre Dame, Max Ellis 11 (Landon Slaggert, Nick Leivermann) EX 18:42. Penalties (total): Ohio State 1-2 (2-4), Notre Dame 1-2 (5-10).
Shots on goal: Ohio State 28 (8-13-7), Notre Dame 36 (14-9-13). Goalie saves: Ohio State, Jakub Dobeš 34 (13-9-12), Notre Dame, Matthew Galajda 24 (6-11-7).
Power-play opportunities: Ohio State 2 of 5, Notre Dame 0 of 2. Faceoffs won: Ohio State 28 (16-9-3), Notre Dame 34 (13-8-13). Blocked shots: Ohio State 17 (6-4-7), Notre Dame 12 (3-6-3).
Referees: Sean Fernandez and David Marcotte. Linesmen: Bill Hancock and Jonathan Sladek. Attendance: 4,343 (5,022).
Records: Ohio State 9-4-0 (5-2-0 Big Ten 15 points), Notre Dame 10-4-0 (4-3-0 Big Ten 10 points).