Ohio State scored goals off the glass and boards into open nets that might be considered lucky but the result was a well-deserved 6-1 victory over No. 8 Notre Dame on Friday in Value City Arena.
Cory Schneider doubled his season output with three assists and Peter Boyd added a goal and two assists for the Buckeyes (13-9-2, 8-7-2-2 in the CCHA).
Schneider set up the first goal with a drive to the net in the first period that left Notre Dame (15-9-3, 12-6-1-1) goalie Mike Johnson out of the crease for the easy rebound by Paul Kirtland into a yawning net.
That was just the beginning as Danny Dries scored on a rebound into an unoccupied net in the second period for 2-1 advantage at 11: 22 and Peter Boyd followed 13 seconds later after the puck took an crazy bounce behind the goal line and landed in as Johnson scrambled to return to the crease.
“Our teams a little fragile right now,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “We’ve given up a lot of crazy goals and crazy bounces in the last few weeks and months. We deflated a bit after that one goal went off the stanchion. We didn’t respond well. Maybe I should have called a timeout. I’ll take responsibility for it.”
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.
“I’m a big believer those goals are a direct resulting of creating them,” Jackson said. “Ohio State took advantage of their opportunities and that’s what it boiled down to so the score matches the breaks you create.”
Notre Dame had luck on its side on the tying goal in the first period when a shot by T.J. Tynan deflected off the skate of OSU defenseman Sean Duddy past goalie Cal Heeter, who was otherwise stellar with 35 saves.
The goal came late in the first on a 5-on-3 but the Buckeyes were able to avoid allowing a second power-play goal.
“After they scored that 5 on-3 goal it was crucial to kill off the rest of the 5-on-4,” Heeter said. “We did a great job with that and pick up our momentum in the second and third periods.
‘They have a great team. I had to come out and play well myself. I got on a roll in the first. Seeing shots makes it easier for me to get in to the game and really get calm.”
The Buckeyes know the Irish will be ready for the rematch Saturday at 7 p.m. in Value City Arena.
“You get good bounces some nights. You get bad bounces some nights. We happened to get some good bounces,” OSU co-captain Sergio Somma said. “The score didn’t look how we played.”
Coach Mark Osiecki agreed.
“The score is not real indicative of how we played and we’ll make them real aware of that tomorrow morning,” he said. “We took too many penalties (five) again. Last Saturday we took one penalty at Western (Michigan) – good disciplined hockey.
‘Tonight we put ourselves in a situation where we could have been down two or three goals and really had to dig out from a lot of penalties. You burn a lot of energy,” he added. “We were fortunate to kill them off. Notre Dame had some good looks and Cal played well.
“Let’s be honest. It wasn’t a perfect game. Notre Dame is a heck of a hockey team. We were lucky to come out of the first period 1-1.”