Ohio State hockey had a terrible goaltending performance last night but at least they're not pounding players' heads violently into the ice.
The Ohio State mens hockey team fell by a score of 8-6 at No. 6 Michigan last night in Ann Arbor but the most notable event in this one happened after the final whistle sounded. After regulation ended, with Michigan on top, a brawl broke out between the two rivals with Michigan's Cutler Martin and OSU's Brendan Kearney having to be separated by a linesman. Unfortunately, that didn't stop Martin from sucker punching Kearney even with the linesman in between them, causing his head to go straight into the ice and bounce violently.
With sports' more heightened awareness of concussion related symptoms and problems these days, this stands as an egregious act that's only made worse by the fact that Martin kept going even after Kearney's head bounced. Thankfully, Kearney looked well enough and got back up right away not showing any outward signs of injury, and hopefully he avoided any major damage.
A game did happen before that despicable act and old coaching mistakes pretty much cost OSU this one. For whatever reason, despite Christian Frey basically winning a tournament on his own over the holidays, he's been benched after one bad game versus Wisconsin last weekend, as Matt Tomkins made his second straight start for the Bucks. Matt Tomkins, as you should know if you read my recaps, is not very good. Christian Frey isn't Georges Vezina, but he's a good goalie who's been solid since he arrived on campus. Tomkins has a better pedigree, being drafted, but has struggled this season.
So naturally, what would a coach fighting for his job do? Of course, start Tomkins against the No. 6 team in the country again after he allowed five goals to them on Friday. And he allowed eight on Sunday. Frey has a save percentage of .925. Tomkins' is .892. Yeah. That's a huge difference.
So Tomkins struggled again, but the Bucks did almost overcome him. Brendon Warren scored first for Michigan at 1:45 to put the Wolverines up 1-0, but heralded freshman Dakota Joshua, who's finally getting playing time lately and scored the winning shootout goal on Friday, scored his first collegiate goal at 9:17 to tie it up. Except at 9:53 Michigan's Tyler Motte put The Team Up North back on top. Tyler Lundey continued his excellent play of late by adding his sixth of the year at 13:26 to tie it up once again.
In the second, it'd be almost all Buckeyes. David Gust scored his sixth of the year, on the powerplay, at 1:17 to give OSU their first lead of the game and Sasha Larocque would add another at 3:30. Kyle Connor would cut the OSU lead down to one at 7:02 but Mason Jobst restored the margin with his fifth of the year at 18:46, another powerplay goal. It was 5-3 going into the second intermission. Boy it sure looked like Ohio State would at least come away with a point.
Except by 3:35 of the third, OSU was losing. Connor scored the first of the third at :52, on the powerplay, and Michigan would score yet another powerplay goal at 1:42, this one by Motte. And Motte scored the hat trick goal at 3:35 to finally put Michigan back on top. They'd add to that 6-5 lead with another goal at 9:34, this time from Dexter Dancs. J.T. Compher made it 8-5 with an empty net goal at 16:54 before Ohio State got one back with the net still empty at 19:41. It was Kevin Miller's second of the year.
Then all the hijinks started after the buzzer sounded.
Michigan had 47 shots for the game. They scored seven goals. If Tomkins had let in 3 less goals, he'd have had a decent save percentage. It's nearly impossible to win a game with that kind of goaltending, much less one against a top 10 team and rival.
OSU will be back in action on Friday, hopefully with a healthy Brendan Kearney, when they host Penn State at Value City Arena.