Unfortunately, this one may not have even been as close as the score. This is a transition year for the Titans, and it did not get off on the right foot.
From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:
|Ohio State 2016|
|Faceoff Wins||6||Faceoff Wins||19|
|Offensive Efficiency||.172||Offensive Efficiency||.356|
When you get fewer than 40% of possessions, and more than doubled-up in efficiency, you are not going to have a real good time.
Ohio State led 4-1 after the first quarter, and scored the ultimate game-winner in the first half (albeit with just a couple minutes to play before the break) to make the count 6-3. The Titans put up a bit of a fight early in the second quarter, but this one was all academic after halftime.
The blowout began in the possession game, where the Buckeyes had a 3:1 advantage on faceoffs, and rode Detroit into several failed clears, for good measure. Indoor games always mess with the clearing game a bit, but for a team that spends the Winter months practicing indoors (and plays indoors in early games), that’s no bueno.
Ben Gjokaj won 3/15 faceoffs, Greg Marzec 1/5, and Mike Sforza 2/5. Ohio State’s specialists may be good, but against a team that was replacing a very good faceoff guy in Christopher May, you’d like to see them put up a fight… or it could portend bad things about the rest of the year. Not having Damien Hicks on this team – when he had a year of eligibility remaining – could be damaging.
Andy Hebden and Mark Anstead each notched three points, on a hat trick for Hebden and a goal and two assists for Anstead. Anstead wasn’t in the starting lineup at attack, but moved into it for the next game, and probably should remain there for the rest of the year. He was among the Titans’ best attackmen as a true frosh last year, and seems to be repeating the feat this year.
Jason Weber is one of the country’s best goalies, so it may be a bad look to give up 16 goals… until you consider that he also made 18 saves(!). He was facing a ton of rubber in this one. The Buckeyes launched 53 total shots (34 of those on goal for the non-math-oriented) to Detroit’s 25. The field was tilted all contest.
22 turnovers played a huge role in that, with blame pretty evenly spread. No Titan had more than three giveaways (Hebden and Lucas Ducharme share that dishonor) and 13 different players had at least one. The Buckeyes caused 13 of those, but you’re not springing an upset with nine unforced errors, either.
Even when OSU seemed to empty the bench after halftime (35 different Buckeyes saw the field to 27 for UDM), the lead only stretched. Ohio State stretched the lead in the third and fourth quarters.
Detroit traveled South over the weekend to face Mercer. It went only marginally better.