Broncos Saddled by Buckeyes 6-3
Ohio State’s Alex Szczechura, brother of former Bronco Paul Szczechura, netted a hat trick for the Buckeyes in the win. The Broncos picked up goals from Justin Kovacs, David Killip and Dennis Brown but weren’t able to slow down the line of Szczechura, Tanner Fritz and Max McCormick. OSU’s top linen accounted for five goals and six assists on the night. Both Szczechura and Fritz ended up with four points on the night for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes struck first for the second straight night with Szczechura getting his first of the night at just 1:44 into the first period. Fritz won the draw in the WMU zone and defenseman Brandon Martell fired it from the right point. Szczechura positioned himself in front of the net and deflected it in for his eighth of the season.
WMU tied it up at 1-1 just 2:34 later after Kovacs put in a rebound on a shot by Ben Warda. Warda was trying to capitalize on a shot by Mike Leone but it was Kovacs who fired it just under the bar for his second of the season.
The Broncos took their first lead of the game at 13:14 in the first period on Killip’s second of the season. Jordan Oesterle intercepted the puck at center ice and passed it up to Trevor Elias. The speedy senior fired the puck from the top of the right circle and Killip deflected it into the net to give WMU a 2-1 lead.
The Buckeyes added four goals in the second period to take a 5-3 lead into the third period. Fritz tied the game at 2-2 at 11:34 on a four-on-four goal. WMU turned it over in their zone and Max McCormick found Fritz alone at the top of the right circle and he fired it past Slubowski for his seventh of the season.
Brown retook the lead just 42 seconds later on a power play goal. The four-on-four ended with the Broncos having the man advantage and the junior defenseman skated it to the left edge of the right circle and beat Brady Hjelle between the legs for his third of the season.
The lead didn’t last long as Szczechura’s second of the night tied the game at 13:36. The Buckeyes caught the Broncos in a change during an OSU power play and Szczechura fired it from the right circle past Slubowski for his ninth of the season.
Just over a minute later McCormick banked in a rebound on a shot by Sam Jardine to give Ohio State a 4-3 lead. Darik Angeli pushed the lead to 5-3 just 3:05 later when a back-hand squeaked past Slubowski for his fourth of the season.
Szczechura completed the hat trick at 5:22 in the third period on a goal in transition. McCormick started the rush and Fritz found Szczechura in the right circle and he beat Slubowski for his 10th of the season to give the Buckeyes a 6-3 lead.
Western Michigan hosts Notre Dame on Friday and Saturday for its final regular season home series. Friday’s tilt is at 7:35 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. Friday is also WMU’s annual Ice Duchenne promotion. Saturday the Broncos will honor their senior class at 7:05 p.m.