COLUMBUS, Ohio – Led by a hat trick from senior Matt Johnson, the Ohio State men’s hockey team skated to a 6-3 win over Mercyhurst Friday in Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, Pa. Johnson’s linemates, senior Chad Niddery and freshman Christian Lampasso, each had two assists in the win, while freshman Matthew Weis and sophomore Nick Schilkey each had a goal and an assist in the victory. Ohio State, which led 3-0 after the first period and 4-2 after the second, was returning from its winter break, playing its first game since Dec. 5.
The Buckeyes (6-9-1, 1-2-0-0 B1G) and Lakers (8-6-2, 6-3-2 Atlantic Hockey) will close the two-game nonconference series at 2:35 p.m. Saturday on the second day of the Snowtown Throwdown. The series is the Buckeyes’ final nonconference matchup before ending the regular season with 17 consecutive Big Ten games.
Johnson, who was recently named an alternate captain for the second half of the season and is on a four-game point streak (five goals, one assist), had the Buckeyes’ second hat trick this season and first since Anthony Greco in the season opener vs. Providence Oct. 10. It was Johnson’s first career three-point game and first multiple point game this season. He now has a career-high seven goals to tie Greco for the team lead. Lampasso had the first multiple point game of his collegiate career and extended his point streak to three (four assists). Niddery is tied for second on the team with seven assists, behind Weis’ team-best eight. Schilkey is second on the team with 11 points, with four goals and seven assists, followed by Weis with 10.
Ohio State led 3-0 after the first period and outshot the Lakers, 14-6, in the opening 20 minutes. Senior leading scorer Tanner Fritz opened the scoring at 6:55 with his sixth goal and 12th point of the year, assisted by sophomore Drew Brevig, a defenseman playing his first game at forward, and sophomore defenseman Josh Healey. At 13:34 Johnson extended the lead to 2-0, set up by Lampasso and Niddery, and at 17:28 Schilkey scored off a pass from Weis.
Johnson netted his second goal of the game at 2:47 of the second, extending the lead to 4-0, with the assists again from Lampasso and Niddery. The Lakers drew within two (4-2) with two goals in 57 seconds, as Kyle Dutra tallied at 11:34 and Daniel Bahntge scored at 12:31. Ohio State again had the lead in shots, putting 15 on net, with the Lakers getting seven through.
At 7:32 of the third Weis converted on the power play, scoring off assists from sophomore David Gust and Schlikey, for a 5-2 Buckeye lead. Mercyhust tallied at 13:50 to draw within two, but Johnson completed his hat trick at 16:36, with senior defenseman Justin DaSilva on the assist, for the final goal of the game. Shots were 14-5 in favor of Ohio State in the period.
The Buckeyes outshot the Lakers, 43-18, marking a season high in shots for Ohio State and a Buckeye opponent season low for shots on goal. Buckeye sophomore goalie Matt Tomkins picked up the win, making 15 saves in 59:45. Jimmy Sarjeant had 37 saves in all 60 minutes for Mercyhurst. Ohio State’s six goals were a season high, passing the five scored against Providence Oct. 10 and Notre Dame Nov. 29.
Ohio State was 1-for-5 on the power play in the game and stopped the Lakers on their two chances. The Buckeyes have a power play goal in four of the last five games and have allowed a power play goal just once in the last five outings.