The No. 16 Ohio State men’s hockey team looks to get back in the win column with its offense back on track in a two-game set with Bentley.
The Buckeyes (4-1-1, 2-0 Big Ten) come off a weekend series where the offense struggled, scoring one goal in a shootout Friday and one more during regulation Saturday in a winless weekend set against UConn.
Head coach Steve Rohlik said the Buckeyes have what it takes to succeed, which comes down to the team bringing its best every game, pointing to Friday’s game which remained scoreless in regulation.
“You got to find a way to win that game because we played well enough to win, but you got to come back Saturday with the same effort,” Rohlik said. “If you don’t have that same consistency, you’re going to get beat no matter who you play.”
The Buckeyes face a Bentley team that has struggled on defense this season. The Falcons (1-2-0, 0-0-0 Atlantic Hockey Association) conceded 14 goals in just three games with a goals allowed average of 4.67 per game.
The defensive struggles have been worsened by struggles at the goaltending position, with Bentley recording a save percentage of .861 as a team. Falcons junior goaltender Nicholas Grabko has a goals allowed average of 9.53 goals per game this season with a .782 save percentage.
In those same three games, Bentley’s offense averaged 2.67 goals per game.
Despite the offensive struggles, the Falcons are led by two four-point scorers this season. Bentley sophomore forward Harrison Scott has scored three goals and one assist this season and junior Nick Bochen has scored one goal and three assists.
Last season, the Buckeyes split a two-game set against Bentley, losing the first game 2-1 and winning the second 7-1. Senior defenseman C.J. Regula said the loss against Bentley last season is on the Buckeyes’ minds.
“There’s a huge chip on the shoulder. That is probably one of the things that kept us out of the tournament last year, and everyone knows that,” Regula said. “These other nonconference games are huge, and we know that it’s a big week coming up. We’ve been having a great week of practice, the team looks good, we feel ready, and we’re going to come out flying on Friday.”
Senior forward Kamil Sadlocha said he believes the Buckeyes need to get back to work and learn from their mistakes. He said experienced players “stepping up” is important for improvement.
“We can’t lose two in a row, especially two out-of-conference games,” Sadlocha said. “You got to get right back to work, forget about it, learn from it and just give it your all like we have in the first four games.”
Rohlik said that the team is looking forward to getting back on the ice at home and finding its momentum again.
“We love playing here. I mean, obviously we had a great student turnout here last time we’re here,” Rohlik said. “We got to take it one game at a time. I’m not so concerned about Friday’s game. I’m concerned about Thursday, and we’re just excited to be back with a shortened week.”
Ohio State faces Bentley at Value City Arena Thursday and Friday. Puck drop for both games is set for 7 p.m. with both matchups live streaming on BTN+.