Feb. 10, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 15-ranked Ohio State men's hockey team lost to No. 18 Western Michigan, 3-2 in overtime, Friday night at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich. The Buckeyes battled back from a goal down twice in the game, including a game-tying score by freshman Max McCormick in the third period, but the Broncos' Dane Walters scored 3:20 into overtime to lift WMU to the conference win.
The Buckeyes (14-11-5, 10-10-5-1 CCHA) and Broncos (15-11-5, 12-8-3-3 CCHA) will close out the series at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Kalamazoo.
The teams were scoreless in the first period. Buckeye goalie Cal Heeter stopped all 14 Bronco attempts in the stanza, with WMU goalie Frank Slubowski making 11 saves. Ohio State had one full power play chance in the period and the Broncos' first chance carried into the second period.
The teams traded early goals in the second period but a late Western Michigan goal put the Broncos ahead 2-1 after the first 40 minutes. At 1:38 a turnover led to a power play goal by Matt Tennyson. The Buckeyes took a too many men penalty while still killing the carryover penalty; the squad was able to stop a short 5-on-3 but the Broncos converted on a one-timer on the second power play for the lead. Less than three minutes later Buckeye senior co-captain Cory Schneider banked the puck in off Slubowski from below the net, with his linemates freshman Chad Niddery and sophomore Travis Statchuk picking up the assists. At 14:59 WMUs Kyle O'Kane was able to put home a loose puck just outside the crease to regain the Broncos' lead. Shots were 13-8 in favor of the Broncos in the period. The Buckeyes had one power play chance and Western Michigan had four opportunities.
Ohio State tied the game at 9:25 of the third period when freshman defenseman Al McLean found McCormick in the right faceoff circle for a quick shot. Rookie blueliner Ben Gallacher had the second assist on the goal, McCormick's ninth of the year. Heeter stopped all nine Bronco attempts in the period, with the Buckeyes putting five shots on net. The Buckeyes converted 1-of-2 power plays in the period and stopped the Broncos on their one chance.
In overtime, the Buckeyes controlled play early but the Broncos were able to get to a puck near the front of the net and Dane Walters scored to give Western Michigan the win. Each team had one shot on net in overtime.
For the game, the Buckeyes were outshot, 37-25. Heeter played 63:20 and had 34 saves, with Slubowski making 23 saves in 63:20. Ohio State blocked 19 Western Michigan shots, led by sophomore Curtis Gedig with five.
Ohio State was 1-for-4 with the man advantage and allowed one goal on five power play chances for the Broncos.
McCormick extended his point streak to four, with 5-3-8 totals in the stretch. He is third on the team with nine goals this season and ranks fourth with 19 points. McCormick has a point on nine of the Buckeyes' last 12 goals.
Heeter had more than 30 saves for the eighth time this season and the sixth time in the last 12 games.
The loss was the Buckeyes' first overtime defeat since falling at Alaska, 1-0, Jan. 28, 2011. Ohio State is 1-1-5 in overtime this year.
The Buckeyes were outshot for the first time in seven games.
Schneider's goal was his fourth of the year, matching his career high.
Freshman blueliners McLean and Gallacher both now have 10 points this season.
McLean has a 2-8-10 line, with Gallacher posting a goal and nine assists. The duo entered the weekend tied for fourth among CCHA rookie defensemen in scoring overall, with Gallacher first and McLean tied for third in league games only.
Gallacher has an assist in each of his last three games.
Statchuk now has a career-high five assists and points this year.
Ohio State's power play goal was its first in three games and ended an 0-for-18 streak.
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My Gameday - Austin Pooley