Despite a four-game losing streak there was good play that went unrewarded until Ohio State broke out of a goal slump with a 4-2 victory against visiting Michigan State on Saturday.
Sergio Somma scored twice and John Albert had four assists before an announced crowd of 4,807 in Value City Arena.
C.J. Severyn added a short-handed goal, Cory Schneider scored into an empty net and Cal Heeter made 26 saves.
Ohio State (14-13-2, 9-11-2-1 in the CCHA) had scored only three times in the previous four games but felt it deserved a better fate in a 1-0 loss at Alaska on Jan 28 and Friday in a 2-0 defeat to the Spartans that included an empty-netter as well.
“Serge and Johnny did a tremendous job (Friday),” OSU coach Mark Osiecki said. “They didn’t get rewarded with it from scoring some points but even in Alaska Johnny had nine shots on net in one of the games and last night he had seven. They’re doing a lot of good things right now, feeding off each other.”
Somma broke a 141-minute scoreless drought against the Spartans (12-14-4, 8-12-2-0) with a power-play goal in the second period at 1:50 to tie the game at 1.
Albert had a shot at the point that was deflected by an MSU player before it reached Somma.
“I threw it to the net and he was there,” Albert said. “We got that lucky bounce. We got that goal and it gave us momentum.”
After the goal, more than 500 Teddy bears were tossed onto the ice as part of a promotion. The OSU players will deliver the bears to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
It was symbolic of the pressure of not scoring being released.
Severyn then scored short-handed off a great feed by Albert for a 2-1 lead.
“That was probably C.J. Severyn’s best game since prior to Christmas,” Osiecki said. “He had been in kind of a funk. Hopefully he played himself out of that because we need him to be going. We need him to be a key penalty killer. He certainly was that tonight.”
Somma upped the count to 3-1 at 4:05 of the third while the Buckeyes were getting an extra attacker on the ice because of a delayed penalty.
He leads the Buckeyes (14-13-2, 9-11-2-2) with 15 goals.
“We felt like we played good hockey last night and last Friday as well,” Somma said. “We were in a little bit of a rough patch and weren’t getting rewarded. We stuck to it and got rewarded tonight.
“It’s tough sometimes when you can’t put a finger on what you’re doing wrong. You’re playing hard, doing what the coaches are asking of you and it’s just not happening,” he added. “Sometimes you keep battling. You work through it and it worked out tonight.”
After a breakaway goal by MSU’s Dustin Gazley at 7:29 made it 3-2, the Buckeyes held on and killed a late Spartans’ power play.
Michigan State was scoreless in five tries and had just seven man-advantage shots.
“They had a lot to do with that,” Michigan State coach Rick Comley said.
Osiecki agreed, “The best thing about it was we were extremely aggressive. Cal made some great saves. We were pushing that pace on the penalty kill. We didn’t give them a lot of room setting up. When we did we were in the shooting lanes.”
The Buckeyes closed out the game when Schneider broke free, was hooked yet dove to knock the puck into an empty net with three seconds left.
“Tonight was a redemption game for our team,” Osiecki said. “We potentially deserved better – and last Friday night (in Alaska) – there’s two games we gave up 15 or less scoring chances and you come away empty-handed.”
The Buckeyes play Feb. 11-12 at Michigan before wrapping up the regular-season with home games against Lake Superior State (Feb. 18-19) and Ferris State (Feb. 24-25).