PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The No. 11-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey skated to a 4-4 overtime tie at Robert Morris Saturday in 84 Lumber Arena. The Buckeyes are now 5-1-3 on the year, while the Colonials move to 3-3-2.
Ohio State 4, Robert Morris 4 OT
The Buckeyes led by two 7:26 into the game on goals from Kevin Miller and Dakota Joshua. Robert Morris cut the lead to one at 15:21 of the first and tied the game early in the second. Buckeye John Wiitala then scored back-to-back at 5:47 and 10:52 (on the power play) for a 4-2 Buckeye advantage. Robert Morris’ Luke Lynch scored on a penalty shot to make it a one-goal game at 14:45 of the second and tallied on a shorthanded breakaway with less than five minutes left in regulation to deadlock the score. In overtime, the Buckeyes went on a major penalty 33 seconds in but were unable to convert. A Buckeye penalty with 1:28 remaining put the teams 4-on-4 through the end of the extra session. The Buckeyes were 1-for-6 on the power play in the game and did not face a power play against.
Quoting Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik
On the 0-1-1 weekend vs. Robert Morris
“We are disappointed in the results of the weekend. We have to play better, and that starts in the week. We need to regroup and continue to get better as a team.”
In the First …
The Buckeyes scored the game’s first two goals. At 2:59 junior Kevin Miller tallied from a sharp angle, with assists from senior Josh Healey and sophomore Brendon Kearney. A turnover in the neutral zone put sophomores Freddy Gerard and Dakota Joshua on a 2-on-1, and Joshua converted at 7:26. Kearney had the second assist on the tally.
Robert Morris got on the board at 15:21 when Daniel Leavens scored after a turnover in Ohio State’s zone.
Ohio State outshot Robert Morris, 15-10, in the period and the Buckeyes had the only two power plays.
In the Second …
Just 2:29 into the second period the Colonials tied the game after Matthew Graham forced a turnover and scored.
The Buckeyes answered with back-to-back goals from sophomore John Wiitala. He broke the tie at 5:47, scoring off a pass from Healey on an odd-man rush, with Joshua also assisting. Wiitala then scored on the power play at 10:52, set up by Joshua and sophomore Mason Jobst.
The Colonials drew within one (4-3) at 14:45. Robert Morris had a breakaway and the Buckeyes took a penalty trying to stop the chance, with a penalty shot awarded. Luke Lynch converted the opportunity.
Shots were 15-12 in favor of Ohio State in the period.
In the Third …
The only goal of the third came from Luke Lynch, who forced a turnover at the RMU blueline while killing a penalty and skated in alone on the Buckeye goal, scoring at 15:02.
Ohio State outshot Robert Morris 8-4 in the period and had two power play chances.
Early in overtime, a Colonial was assessed a major for hitting from behind, putting the Buckeyes on the power play for 4:27. Ohio State had chances, but could not convert. A Buckeye penalty made the game 4-on-4 with 1:28 remaining, but each goalie made a save to keep the game tied.
Ohio State had four of five shots on goal in the period.
Blocking the Puck
Ohio State outshot Robert Morris, 42-27, in the game.
Buckeye senior goalie Matt Tomkins had 23 saves while playing 64:48. Robert Morris’ starting goalie was injured 1:27 into the game after making one save. Andrew Pikul played the final 63:33 and had 37 stops.
Ohio State blocked 13 shots in the game, led by junior forward Matthew Weis with three.
Ohio State had the only six power plays in the game, converting 1-for-6 opportunities. The Buckeyes were 1-for-11 on the power play in the series.
The Buckeyes took three penalties but did not face a power play against.
Points about Points
• John Wiitala notched the first two-goal game of his Buckeye career after single tallies in 15 outings.
• Dakota Joshua had a team-high three points in the game with a goal and two assists. It was a career high for points and his fourth game with two assists.
• Brendon Kearney had a career-high two assists and his third two-point outing.
• Josh Healey had his third two-assist game of the season and in the last five games.
• Freddy Gerard posted his first point of the year. He is the 22nd Buckeye with a point this season.
• Ohio State is averaging 4.44 goals a game, ranking in the Top 5 nationally.
Ohio State will host its final home games of the first half of the season next weekend when it faces UConn at 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday in Value City Arena. The series marks Military and Veterans Appreciation.