Thursday, November 29, 2012

Previewing Buckeyes vs Spartans

Freshman Colin Olson usually starts the Saturday Night Game
Tomorrow night, the Ohio State Men's Hockey Buckeyes take on the Spartans of Michigan State, televised at 8 PM on the Big Ten network.  The Buckeyes, currently tied for second in the CCHA, and nationally tied for 8th in defense, are holding opponents to 2.08 goals per game.  In CCHA play, the Buckeyes are holding opponents to 1.62 goals per game.  In the games I've seen, the Buckeyes have played a good, tight checking game.  They minimize space on the ice, and are backed up by pretty solid goal tending.

The Michigan State Spartans are tied for ninth in the CCHA with 10 points (compared to OSU's 15).  According to this real nice article by Neil Koepke, the Spartans have struggled to score 5 on 5.  However, their power play is scoring at a red hot 29% clip, so the Buckeyes will have to play a disciplined game.

Sophmores Tanner Fritz (12 GP, 2-9-11, +3) and Ryan Dzingel (12 GP, 5-5-10, -2) are on 5 game point streaks and look to lead the Buckeye offense.  Senior Goaltender Brady Hjelle, third in the NCAA with a 1.45 GAA and a save percentage of .950, and CCHA Goaltender of the week last week, should get the net Friday.  In the Alaska and Northern Michigan games, Freshman Collin Olson got the net on Saturday night in home games.  He struggled on the road against Lake Superior State last weekend, and Hjelle entered the game in relief during the first period.  Coach Mark Osiecki will have some tough choices to make.

All in all, this should be a really good test for the Buckeyes.  They will look to hold pace or advance in the CCHA standings, while the Spartans are looking to climb.  I think both teams will look to play tight defensively, and capitalize on the other team's mistakes.  This is a game Hitch would love.  No dangling.


(Editor's Note: I am not an NCAA hockey expert. I used this OSU site and this really detailed release from Ohio State Athletics Communications as sources.)

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