The Buckeyes come into the weekend sitting in a tie for second place with 15 points (4-2-2-1 CCHA, 5-4-3 overall). Ohio State is on a bit of a roll going 4-2-2 in their last eight games. Last weekend, they split with LSSU winning 4-1 on Friday and dropping a 3-2 game on Saturday.
Both games are on TV this weekend. Friday's game is on the BTN at 8:05 pm. Saturday's game is at 6:05 pm on Comcast (Channel 900). Both games are on 1240 AM on your radio dial.
The Spartans hold a slim 84-26-8 edge in the series. This includes a much slimmer 40-8-3 mark at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans won three of the four games last season, but the two teams actually split in East Lansing. Ohio State actually hasn't been swept in East Lansing since 2002.
The teams actually have played six series in East Lansing since that 2002 sweep, and Ohio State is 7-4-1 in those (one of the series MSU won & tied the second game - so it wasn't a clean sweep).
After this season, you'll see the Buckeyes four times a year - twice in East Lansing, twice in C-Bus - yay! (Yes, I can't wait for B1G hockey).
Buckeyes Leading Scorers
Tanner Fritz 2 goals, 11 points
Ryan Dzingel 5 goals, 10 points
Max McCormick 4 goals, 8 points
Matt Johnson 4 goals, 5 points
Chris Crane 3 goals, 5 points
Brady Hjelle 3-2-2, 1.45 GAA, .950 save %
Collin Olson 2-2-1, 2.68 GAA, .914 save %
OSU Power Play: 10.5% (6 for 57)
OSU Penalty Kill: 83.0% (44 for 53)
Ohio State has scored and given up 25 goals this year (7-8, 8-8, 10-9). It doesn't get much more even than this. Ohio State is 4-1 when leading after 1. They are 1-3-3 when tied or losing after 1. By comparison MSU is 3-0 when leading after 1, and they are 1-6-2 when tied or losing after 1. MSU has tallied 30 goals and given up 35 (7-15, 9-11, 14-9).
So, the rumor is Ohio State is actually bringing their entire student section to this series (approx. 75 students). I chuckled when I heard this, because I've gone to games in Columbus before, and it's tough to really see much of a student section in the giant basketball stadium they use for a hockey rink. 75 actually sounded about right. So beware Spartan fans - bring your shouting voice to shutdown the Buckeye travelers.
The end of the video includes Ohio State's Regional Win Over MSU at Yost sending them to the Frozen Four (yes, those are Michigan fans cheering for Ohio State)
Ohio State has always been the "little engine that couldn't" in the CCHA. The University obviously has the money to support the program. That "large basketball stadium of a hockey rink" actually is a nice arena to watch a game - the only bad part is that it's usually half filled (which still means about 6-7k in the stadium, though it feels very empty) unless Michigan or MSU roll into town (I imagine Miami might draw a good crowd too). Yet, they've never been able to find any consistency. A lot people refer (or used to) to Michigan State football as the 'sleeping giant' of the Big 10. Ohio State is a lot like that in the CCHA - only the history isn't quite as rich. They just have one Frozen Four appearance (Ohio State defeated Michigan State at Yost - if you ever wanted to see Michigan fans cheering for Ohio State - you just needed to be at Yost that day). They only have one conference championship (1971-72), two tournament titles (1972, 2004), and only six NCAA appearances (last in 2009). With that said, I've always thought the Buckeyes were a 'sleeping giant'. If they ever get it going - they could be one of the best programs in the country. Maybe the switch to the Big 10 conference will be the final boost they need.
Also, what a lot of people don't remember is Ohio State was actually in first place in the CCHA on January 1, 2012. They were 15-4-1. After back to back ties against Bowling Green that pushed their record to 15-4-3, the wheels not only fell off - but exploded. They finished the 2012 portion of their season 1-11-4 (which includes the two ties to BGSU). The lone win was February 11th at Western Michigan. Heck, they even lost all four shoot-outs they played in. This resulted in a first round loss at Notre Dame - and a team that was 15-4-1 failed to make the NCAA tournament.
But that was last year, and this season the young Buckeyes are looking to improve and make the tournament. They seem to be somewhat starting to put it together. They've played well lately (despite the set back last weekend). They are in second place in the CCHA, and they are gaining confidence through a difficult stretch of their schedule.
Bottom line: The Spartans need to come to play 60 minutes both nights. They will also need to come with the emotion that they had in the Michigan game. The crowd usually is larger when Ohio State is in town, because even the casual MSU fans know the "Ohio State" name. It'll be tough to top the last home crowd though, so the Spartans need to play with some fire from the get go.
This should be two hard hitting, tightly contest games.