So far things are not exactly going according to plan for the Ohio State men's hockey team. They've played four games versus ranked opponents to start the season and have yet to come out with a single point. The fourth of those games was Saturday night at No. 18 Miami, where the RedHawks took down the Buckeyes 3-1 in Oxford.
Once again, Ohio State fell behind early to the RedHawks on a goal by Josh Melnick at 12:11 of the first period. Matt Tomkins got his third straight start in net for the Buckeyes, since one and a half decent games apparently erase the last season and a half of mediocrity at best. Christian Frey is probably ripping his hair out.
But Tomkins would acquit himself quite well in this one, as he held Miami out of the net for the rest of the period despite 13 shots on goal for the RedHawks with only nine for the Buckeyes. The Bucks would keep the lead at one before Mason Jobst scored his first collegiate goal for the Buckeyes at 5:22 of the second to knot the score at one apiece. But just eight minutes later, at 13:56 of the second, Jack Roslovic, the RedHawk who scored the game winner on Friday, put one past Tomkins after a defensive blueline turnover by OSU, to give the RedHawks a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Miami put up 19 shots in just the second period, with OSU at least putting up a fight with 12 of their own, so it was probably a minor miracle that the Buckeyes were only trailing by one. But the third period wouldn't go any better for Ohio State as Tyler Lundey, ostensibly the team's first line center, got a game misconduct for checking from behind at 19:47 of the second to let the RedHawks essentially start off the third with a 5 minute powerplay.
Zach LaValle would put Miami up 3-1 on a goal during that powerplay at 2:05 of the third and the Buckeyes wouldn't be able to get any closer. Miami only led in shots in the third by 2, again a minor miracle with that big powerplay, but only having seven in the frame, the Buckeyes just didn't get the pressure they needed to score one, much less the two goals they needed.
Tomkins ended with 38 saves on 41 shots, good for a .927 save percentage. If he can keep that up, he should keep getting the starts but color me skeptical as to whether he actually can. Besides that though, the Buckeyes were outplayed by a team that is usually going to outplay you when you're not that great. The 0-4 start looks bad, but there weren't really any games so far that OSU was expected to win.
And that streak of playing superior opponents will continue next weekend when the Buckeyes play two games at defending national champions Providence.