Ohio State took advantage of some fortunate bounces – as did Notre Dame on its goal – and to its credit buried those chances to pull off a 6-1 upset of No. 8 Notre Dame on Friday.
The Value City Arena crowd saw the Buckeyes score five times in the final two periods with Cory Schneider leading the way with three assists to double his season output. Peter Boyd added a goal and two assists for the Buckeyes (13-9-1, 8-7-2-2 in the CCHA).
Freshman Travis Statchuk had his first career goal at 5:21 of the third when a shot wide of the goal came through the crease for the easy put back and a 4-1 lead. Only 41 seconds later Boyd fed C.J. Severyn to complete a two-on-one for the fifth goal.
John Albert made it 6-1 at the 12:34 mark.
Despite the score, OSU would not have been in position for the win if not for the stellar effort of goalie Cal Heeter. He made 35 saves, 23 of them in the first two periods when the game was still in doubt against the nation’s highest scoring team (3.77 avg.).
Goals 13 seconds apart by pseudo defenseman Danny Dries and Boyd in the middle period pushed the Buckeyes to a 3-1 lead.
Dries was put on the blueline for the first time in the absence of Chris Reed but he is still a goal scorer as evidenced by his 13 in his first season with the Buckeyes after transferring from New Hampshire.
He watched as Sergio Somma had two whacks at the puck in front of netminder Mike Johnson before swooping in from the top of the left faceoff circle to deposit the rebound at 11:22.
Play barely resumed when Jeff McNeil rimmed the puck around the boards. Johnson went behind the net to stop it but it jutted in front before reaching him and Boyd on the doorstep for the easy goal, his seventh.
The Buckeyes were both fortunate and unfortunate to be tied at 1 heading into the second period.
They earned the early lead with solid defense through the neutral zone to negate the speedy Irish and got the second goal of the season by Paul Kirtland at 4:50 with Schneider and Curtis Gedig assisting.
Gedig sprung Schneider at the attacking blue line for a partial break. Schneider tried to stuff the puck past Johnson but was denied. The rebound went right of goal and in the ensuing scramble Johnson was out of the crease and got tangled with McNeil, leaving a yawning net for Kirtland.
Notre Dame (15-9-3, 12-6-1-1) started asserting itself but the Buckeyes held on and looked like they might make it unscathed through the first.
However, Corey Toy and McNeil were called for holding at 17:34 and it took the Irish only 37 seconds to get the 5-on-3 equalizer although some luck was involved.
T.J. Tynan’s shot from the left corner hit the skate of OSU defenseman Sean Duddy and careened into the net. He has 16 goals.
The Irish were poised to convert the second part of the power play but OSU was able to kill the remaining 1:23.