Ohio State Advances with 6-Goal Outburst
by Tim Rappleye/CHN Reporter
DETROIT Firewagon hockey, it’s a term from a bygone era before systems, left-wing locks and the dreaded trap.
Firewagon hockey means goals, and plenty of them. High-scoring games drive most coaches mad, while driving fans crazy with passion.
Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik let his kids play the wide open game. His team averages more than four goals a game. It averages more than 30 shots per game, and he has a power play that clicks at more than 30 percent.
On Thursday, in their Big 10 quarterfinal against Michigan State, the Buckeyes had a two-goal spurt within 1:35 to open the game. Then, the Buckeyes exploded for three goals in the first 3:26 of the third period to eanr their 6-3 and advance to Friday's quarterfinal. The Buckeyes will play second-seeded Wisconsin.
Ten different Buckeyes got on the scoresheet, and none more important than senior David Gust with his two goals to open the third.
“We’re a pretty loose team," he said. "We keep it loose in the locker room and don’t get too serious, grip the sticks too tight. Playing loose kind of helps us.”
Leading scorer Mason Jobst, who picked up three points to expand his season total to a whopping 54 points, laid down the gauntlet for classmate Gust in the Buckeye's locker room in the second intermission of a 3-3 game.
“I challenged Gust in the locker room in the third to come out," Jobst said. "I’m super proud of him as a senior to step up and score two big goals for us. Sometimes we’ve been down, but we managed to stick together and we know we can score goals.”
Gust did just that, beating the Spartans kicker Ed Minney far side on the power play 25 seconds into the period. Then, he did it again near side on a rush just over a minute later. The Buckeyes cruised from that point on, extending their lead to 6-3 for their 21st win of the season. Thirty-four shots, six goals, and the OSU firewagon rolled on.
The win also furthers the Buckeyes' case for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. It pushed them to 14th in the rankings.
In an era of rigid systems and rosters full of shot blockers, Rohlik’s winning formula has his Buckeyes going back to the future.
“If there’s a forward or defenseman out there who wants to enjoy playing college hockey, and wants to go and score some goals, when you see everyone playing games 2-1 or 3-2, you know where you want to go, Ohio State," he said.