March 1, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Behind 29 saves from senior Brady Hjelle, the Ohio State men’s hockey team shut out No. 3-ranked Miami, 3-0, Friday in Steve Cady Arena in Oxford, Ohio. The line of junior Alex Szczechura and sophomores Tanner Fritz and Max McCormick paced the team with six points, as Szczechura and McCormick each had a goal and an assist and Fritz had two assists.
The Buckeyes (14-14-7, 13-9-5-1 CCHA) and RedHawks (21-9-5, 16-7-4-4 CCHA) will close the series, and the regular season, at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Oxford. The Buckeyes’ Friday night win, along with a Ferris State loss, puts Ohio State alone in fourth place in the CCHA standings, three points ahead of the Bulldogs. The Buckeyes can clinch home ice in the quarterfinals of the CCHA tournament with at least one point Saturday vs. the RedHawks.
Friday night, the teams were scoreless in the first period before a power play goal by junior Chris Crane early in the second period put Ohio State ahead. Szczechura made it a two-goal game at 13:20 of the middle period and McCormick sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 1:19 left in regulation. The Buckeye special teams were 1-for-3 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill in the game.
Miami outshot Ohio State, 13-6, in the opening period. The first penalty was called on Miami with 1.6 seconds left in the period, carrying nearly the entire two minutes into the second period.
The Buckeyes led 2-0 after the middle period. Just 1:14 into the stanza Crane redirected a Devon Krogh shot with Ohio State on the power play. Szczechura had the second assist on the goal, which came on the Buckeyes’ first power play of the night. At 13:20 the Buckeyes cycled down low and Fritz passed to Szczechura just outside the crease. His first shot was saved, but he was able to get his rebound past Miami goalie Ryan McKay from a sharp angle. McCormick had the second assist on the helper. Miami outshot the Buckeyes, 8-5, in the period. The Buckeyes stopped the RedHawks on three power play chances and Ohio State was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Ohio State held its two-goal lead throughout the third period, with Hjelle making eight saves. With 1:19 left McCormick sealed the win with an empty-net goal, assisted by Fritz and freshman defenseman Craig Dalrymple. The Buckeyes put five shots on net and held the RedHawks scoreless on the one power play chance of the stanza.
Ohio State was outshot, 29-16, in the game. Hjelle stopped all 29 shots in 59:56. Miami’s Ryan McKay had 12 stops, allowing two goals, in 59:42.
The Buckeyes converted one of three power play chances and held the RedHawks scoreless on all four chances, allowing just two power play shots.
• Hjelle’s shutout was his fourth of the season, tying for first in the CCHA and second in the NCAA. He is seventh in the NCAA with a .936 save percentage and 12th with a 1.93 goals-against average.
• Hjelle was named the Perani Cup first star of the game for the 10th time this season and has been a first or second star a league-high 14 times (in 23 league starts). He clinched the league’s overall Perani Cup trophy. In league play he is second with a 1.80 gaa and .940 svpct.
• Fritz, the reigning CCHA Player of the Month, now has four-point lead in the CCHA scoring race entering the final game. He has 32 points in conference play, including a league-high 23 assists.
• Fritz leads Ohio State, and shares the CCHA lead, with 34 points and has a league-best 24 assists. He is on a four-game point streak, with four goals and seven assists for 11 points in the stretch (and multiple points in each), and has a point in 11 of his last 13 games.
• McCormick is on a five-game point streak (4g, 5a, 9p) and has a point in 12 of the last 14 games. He ranks third on the squad with 26 points and is second with 12 goals.
• Szczechura is fourth on the team with 21 points and third with 11 goals. He had his fourth multiple-point game of the year.
• Dalrymple leads Ohio State’s defensemen and freshmen with 12 points, including 10 assists. He is on a three-game assist streak.
• The shutout was the Buckeyes’ first against Miami since Jan. 7, 2011 in Columbus (1-0). The win ended a five-game (0-4-1) winless streak for Ohio State vs. Miami.
• Ohio State has three or more goals in five of its last six games and is now averaging 2.40 goals a game on the season.
• The Buckeyes are 12th in the NCAA in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 2.34 goals a game.
• Ohio State ranks 13th nationally on the penalty kill, stopping 85.5 percent (112-of-131) opponent chances.