Dec. 15, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State men's hockey team dropped a 3-1 game to No. 5-ranked Miami Saturday in Value City Arena to close the first half of the season. The Buckeyes (7-6-5, 6-3-3-1 CCHA) and RedHawks (11-3-4, 8-3-3-3) will next compete when they face off to open the Three Rivers Classic Dec. 28 in Pittsburgh. Game two of the tournament in CONSOL Energy Center, where they will be joined by Robert Morris and Penn State, is Dec. 29.
The RedHawks led 1-0 after the first period and 2-0 after adding a power play goal in the second period. A goal from sophomore Max McCormick early in the third drew the Buckeyes within one but Miami sealed the win with an empty-net goal at 19:34. Buckeye senior goalie Brady Hjelle had 31 saves between the pipes.
The teams were scoreless until just 23.5 seconds remained in the opening period, as Miami's Alex Cacek scored on a wrist shot, assisted by Cody Murphy and Blake Coleman. Hjelle had 10 saves in the period, with Miami outshooting Ohio State, 10-5. The Buckeyes had two power play chances and held Miami scoreless on one opportunity.
The RedHawks extended the lead to two with a power play goal from Coleman at 3:33 of the second period. Hjelle had 12 stops in the stanza, with Miami goalie Ryan McKay stopping all seven Buckeye attempts. Miami was 1-for-2 on the power play and held Ohio State scoreless on one chance.
At 6:20 of the third McCormick scored from the slot, assisted by junior Alex Szczechura and redshirt freshman Riley Simpson. The teams combined for 21 shots in the period, with Ohio State edging the RedHawks, 11-10. Ohio State had the only two power plays of the period.
For the game, Ohio State was outshot, 34-23. Hjelle played 59:09 for the Buckeyes and allowed two goals, making 31 saves. McKay had 22 stops in 59:57 for the RedHawks.
The Buckeyes were scoreless on five power play chances and Miami was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Hjelle is third in the NCAA with a 1.46 goals-against average and ranks second nationally with a .951 save percentage. In CCHA play he has a .79 goals-against average and .972 save percentage.
McCormick now shares the team lead with classmate Ryan Dzingel with six goals each. McCormick is third on the team with 10 points.
The Buckeyes have been held to two goals or less in six of the last seven games.
Ohio State is sixth in the NCAA in team defense, holding opponents to 1.94 goals a game.
Szczechura has a point in six of his last nine games and has a 1-6-7 line on the year.
Mark Osiecki, Ohio State head coach
On Miami in the first period
"Miami came out with a purpose in the first period and we didn't play to our potential. They are a good hockey team and I do not want to take that away from them."
On Ohio State's improved play in the third period
"If we look at the third period it was better than the first two because we moved our feet more. We told our forwards to keep the puck away from the goaltenders when we chip pucks in."
On the disappointing result before holiday break
"We are not where we want to be. It takes time. We have had a difficult first half of the year with injuries and tough travel. We are not scoring a lot of goals. We can't continue to go the way we are going on the power play."
Enrico Blasi, Miami head coach
On improvements in his team
"Obviously we've got some guys that last week weren't very good at the penalty kill. I thought this weekend they were much more determined. We did a better job of keeping them to the outside. We did a good job of blocking shots. When the guys are out there, they need to get the job done."
On the intensity of the game
"I thought we came out and played hard. We made some great plays. I thought the guys got right into it. When we got that first goal in the last minute of the first period and then the power play goal - that was huge."