Kentucky hockey loses 6-4 to Ohio State in first round of TSCHL playoffs


Kentucky players celebrate after scoring a goal during the UK vs. Louisville hockey game on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, at Lexington Ice Center in Lexington, Kentucky. UK lost 7-5. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Cole Parke

Kentucky hockey (6-0-4-1) fell short 6-4 against Ohio State (8-0-5-0) in the first round of the TSCHL playoffs in Cincinnati on Friday.

Kentucky entered the bracket as the No. 3 seed from the south division, while Ohio State was the No. 2 seed in the north division.

The Wildcats got on the board first with sophomore center Brett Quinn scoring the maiden goal of the night in the first period.

Unfortunately for Kentucky, the Buckeyes responded to the early goal with two of their own, courtesy of Brandon Kwestel and Joseph Caldiero to carry a 2-1 lead into the second period.

Kentucky caught fire in the second period with two consecutive power-play goals coming within seconds of each other from sophomore wing Gio Lanera and senior captain Gary Eastlack.

Ohio State tied the game with a goal by Alex Vineyard, but Kentucky struck again with Eastlack scoring his second goal of the night to retake the lead.

The Buckeyes refused to go down easy, tying the game once more with Caldiero scoring his second goal of the day.

Kentucky’s front line fell flat in the third period, making the final and most important period of the game the only one that didn’t feature any Wildcat goals.

On the flip side, Ohio State continued their consistent barrage of two goals per period, scoring twice more in the third period to defeat Kentucky and knock the Wildcats out in the first round.

With the loss Kentucky travels back to Lexington, their hopes of being TSCHL conference champions dashed by the Buckeyes.

Despite this, the season is not over for the Cats, with UK being chosen as one of four teams to qualify for the ACHA Men’s Division 2 Southeast Regional in Columbus, Ohio.

Kentucky will feature as the No. 8 seed and will be joined by No. 4 Miami Ohio, No. 7 Indiana, and No. 10 Ohio State from the TSCHL.

The Wildcats are set to take on either No. 13 Penn or a different league champion that earns an auto-bid in the coming days on Friday, Feb. 25, at 4:30 p.m. EST.