>Game #20 – Ohio State v. Miami
Andy Miele scored two goals during a four-goal third period lifting Miami to a 4-2 win over Ohio State. Miele’s first goal, a powerplay marker at 11:43 of the period forged a 2-2 tie. His second goal at 17:41 proved to be the game-winner as Miami rallied for the win.
The victory enabled the RedHawks to maintain their five-point cushion over second place Michigan State who finished off a two-game sweep of Bowling Green by winning 4-1. And, Miami retained their six-point lead over red hot Ferris State who also notched a weekend sweep downing Western Michigan 4-3.
Miami (13-2-5 overall, 10-1-3-1 CCHA) is now off until 2010 when they open the second half of the season with a non-conference home-and-home series against Robert Morris. The first game will be held in Pittsburgh’s Mellon Arena on Friday, January 8 as part of the Pittsburgh College Hockey Showcase. The Miami-RMU game will be the third of the day that will also see the Robert Morris women’s team take on UConn (2pm) and the RMU club team against Penn State (5pm). Miami and RMU will conclude the series in Oxford on Sunday, January 10 before the RedHawks hit the road for a difficult, and lengthy, four-game trip to Big Rapids, Mich. and Fairbanks, Alaska. The Big Rapids trip looks to be one of the season’s most important as Miami and Ferris State are separated by just six points in the standings. If Miami could sweep the Bulldogs, they will be in great position as the season winds down to finish among the top two in the CCHA. The following weekend, Miami travels to the great white north where they will face the University of Alaska in a grueling series against a Nanook team that always seems to play Miami tough.
For Ohio State (7-12-1, 5-8-1-1 CCHA), they have to put the first half of the season behind them and use the time over the holidays to regroup. With wins against top ten teams Denver and Bemidji State, the Buckeyes have shown an ability to play with the nation’s elite. However, Saturday’s loss after playing some of their best hockey for two periods has to be disappointing.
Unlike Friday, on Saturday night, the teams skated a fairly even, uneventful first period with both starting goaltenders seeing action – their first of the weekend as both coaches chose to start their alternate goalie. Buckeye starter, junior Dustin Carlson, was the busier of the two as he made 13 first period stops while Miami starter, sophomore Connor Knapp, made 8 saves in the scoreless first period.
However, the Buckeyes would breakthrough in the second period on junior Hunter Bishop’s fifth goal of the season that ended the RedHawks school record scoreless streak at 239:13. It was the first goal Miami had surrendered since the third period of a 5-5 tie at North Dakota on November 28. A new scoreless streak would not last long as Ohio State got a powerplay goal just over three minutes later. Sophomore Zac Dalpe took a long feed from defenseman Matt Bartkowski and skated in alone on Knapp making a nice left-to-right deke and as the Miami goaltender went down far too early, Dalpe patiently waited and easily fired the puck into the top corner for his team-leading 10th goal of the year.
As the second period came to a close, the teams came together resulting in six minor penalties, but the scrum seemed to wake the RedHawks who came out flying in the third.
Miami got within one goal when freshman defenseman Steve Spinell picked off an errant clearing attempt and displayed some nice hands skating from the left point between the circles firing a wrister that Carlson stopped. But, Spinell stayed with his shot and picked up the rebound backhanding it through traffic just inside the far post for his first collegiate goal. Miele would then score twice to put the RedHawks up for good and senior Jarod Palmer added his 7th goal, an empty net tally at 19:33 to finish it.
In scoring four times in the third period, the RedHawks outshot the Buckeyes 17-9 in the stanza and 40-27 on the night. During the third periods of both games, the RedHawks outscored Ohio State 8-0. If nothing else, last year’s title game loss to Boston University has taught the RedHawks that no game is EVER over.
Ohio State head coach John Markell tried to find a silver lining to describe the performance.
“I thought we played well, but it was a race to three and they beat us there,” said Markell. “We had a couple of chances to make it three and that would have secured the game. I saw a lot of good things tonight from our team, and I like the way we responded to Friday night’s game.” (USCHO)
The Buckeyes resume play on January 8 when they host Bowling Green in a CCHA series at Value City Arena. They finish the first half of the season in 9th place, but just one point out of sixth where there is a three-way tie between Notre Dame, Nebraska-Omaha and Northern Michigan.
- Miami’s Alden Hirschfeld posted a two-point game with assists on Spinell’s goal and Miele’s game-winner.
- Here is a link to the official box score. (USCHO)
- Miami goaltender Connor Knapp made 22 saves to improve his record to 3-1-3 with a solid 2.18 GAA and 91.3 save percentage.
- Miele’s two goals enabled him to regain the top point spot on Miami’s roster. He now leads the team with 19 points on 7 goals.
- Jarod Palmer had a three-point night with assists on both Miele goals and his empty-net goal that iced it.
- OSU’s Dustin Carlson made his first start in five games and is now just 1-8 on the season with a 2.94 GAA and 91.0 save percentage.