History was made as soon as the puck dropped Friday night at Value City Arena in Columbus. The Arizona State Sun Devils, in their second season as a Division I team, visited Ohio State for the first meeting between the two programs. The meeting ended a convincing win for the hometown Buckeyes, who scored the first four goals of the game on their way to a 6-1 victory.
Buckeyes Start Fast
Ohio State’s dominant first period got off to a bit of a false start. Less than five minutes into the game, Mason Jobst appeared to give the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead when he corralled the puck and fired it past Sun Devil goalie Ryland Pashovitz. After a review, however, it was determined that a Buckeye player made contact with Pashovitz and the goal was waved off.
The disallowed tally did not deter the Buckeyes as, less than a minute later, David Gust buried his 12th goal of the season to put Ohio State on top. Minutes later, the team’s dynamic power play got a chance to shine when the Sun Devils took two penalties 33 seconds apart.
That meant the ensuing 5-on-3 man advantage for the Buckeyes could have lasted 1:27, but Ohio State only needed eight seconds before captain Nick Schilkey scored his 16th goal of the season to make it 2-0. Just 53 seconds later, Miguel Fidler made a strong move, pivoting to the front of the net to score a power-play goal of his own.
Joey Daccord relieved Pashovitz in the Sun Devils’ net after Fidler’s goal, but the Buckeyes weren’t done. Just past the 10:00 mark in the first period, Kevin Miller beat Daccord with a sharp angle shot, giving Ohio State a 4-0 lead that it took into the first intermission.
Sun Devils Respond
After Ohio State’s dominant first period, Arizona State answered the bell in the second. The Sun Devils generated more of the period’s chances and outshot Ohio State 17-8 in the frame. They got on the big board when Brinson Pasichnuk’s shot from the point beat Buckeye goalie Christian Frey on the power play at the 8:28 mark.
“When you look at it, we gave up way too many shots, way too many chances, way too many opportunities the last two periods,” Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said. “That part of it’s a bit disappointing.”
A Powerful Advantage
While the Sun Devils carried the play for much of the second period, they only scored once, and it took Ohio State just one power play chance to get that goal back. In the period’s final five minutes, Gust made a nifty maneuver to the slot, then slid a pass across to Schilkey, who fired the puck past Daccord for his second goal of the game.
The Buckeyes, who entered the game with the fourth-best power play in the nation, finished the game 3-for-5 on the man advantage.
“I think, going out there [on the power play] you gotta have the mindset that you are going to score the goals and if you have that mindset and move the puck around then good stuff will happen,” Gust said.
Arizona State again outshot the Buckeyes in the third period, but Ohio State scored the frame’s only goal when Ronnie Hein’s backhander, which looked more like a pass than a shot, snuck past Daccord for the final goal of the game.
An Inward Focus
On paper, Friday’s game might seem like an especially difficult one to prepare for, being the first between the two programs. But Rohlik said, from his perspective, that’s not the case.
“Any time you go out there to play a hockey game, no matter who you play, it’s about what you bring … it’s about how we show up, how we prepare,” Rohlik said. “You don’t fear your opponents but you respect them and that’s what we do.”
The Buckeyes and Sun Devils add another chapter to their brief series history when they meet again Saturday afternoon.
Jeff is a college hockey and Columbus Blue Jackets contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a former TV sports reporter who has covered, broadcasted, coached and played hockey at various levels. You can follow him on Twitter @jeff_schaffer13