Red-Hot Buckeyes Edge Air Force for ECAC Lead
In-Game Blog Replay
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Goals were hard to come by Saturday when the Ohio State Buckeyes squared off against the Air Force Falcons with first place in the ECAC on the line.
However, thanks in large part to a huge goaltending performance from Scott Spencer, who made 14 saves in the game, the Buckeyes were able to snap the Falcons six game winning streak with an 8-6 victory inside Ohio Stadium on senior day.
"It feels really good right now," said senior defenseman Meurer on the Buckeyes, who have now won five of their last six after a rough start to the year. "Obviously we faced a lot of adversity in the first half of the season, and now down the stretch I think we are starting to play some of our best lacrosse."
The win moves the Buckeyes, playing their best lacrosse of the season, into first place in the ECAC. Ryan Hunter led the way on offense, finishing the game with four goals, while Christopher Allen netted three of the six goals for Air Force.
J.T. Blubaugh got the Buckeyes on the board first when he was able to get by his defenseman off the dodge and beat Air Force goalie Brett Dadiego low for his seventh goal of the season.
Kyle Cassady responded with his own unassisted goal just over a minute later to tie the game at one, but that's all both defenses would yield during a tightly played first quarter.
Ohio State regained the lead early in the second quarter when Ryan Hunter buried his ninth goal of the season. Hunter, who had four goals in the game, now has 12 goals in three games since being inserted into the starting lineup.
The Falcons and Buckeyes would trade goals to end the first 30 minutes as Ohio State took a 3-2 lead into the half.
The Buckeyes didn't skip a beat coming out of the break as Hunter would score his second goal of the game just over a minute into the third quarter to stretch the lead to 4-2.
But Air Force wouldn't go away as back-to-back goals from Tommy Mckee and Christopher Allen evened things up at four.
After trading goals to send the game into the fourth quarter tied, 5-5, the Buckeyes turned to its leading scorer and Tewaaraton Award watch list player Jesse King to break the tie.
Scoring his 25th goal of the season to give Ohio State the lead again, King also played a key part in the Buckeyes final two goals of the game after Air Force had tied it, including setting up Carter Brown for a wide open goal with a little over a minute to play to give OSU a small cushion at, 8-6.
Air Force freed themselves up for a couple of chances as time was running out, but Ohio State's defense forced a key turnover to help salt the game away.
Air Force coach Eric Seremet said his team wasn't able to generate chances early against a stingy Ohio State defense, and that they have to work harder to improve on that moving forward.
"We have to realize that we need to be more of a blue collar team," Seremet said. "I thought we scrapped hard, we played our butts off. Ohio State's a very talented team, and their a very blue collared team too, and I think the score showed that it was kind of a battle between the lines. Our kids are very confident kids, we have a senior based team and we didn't get into a rhythm early offensively. That's something we have to focus on going into next week."
Next weekend, both teams will be hitting the road as Ohio State travels up to Fairfield with a chance to clinch the ECAC regular season crown, while Air Force will end its regular season with a non-conference road match-up with Quinnipiac.
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