On a night where the Buckeyes’ football team came back for a dramatic victory, the OSU hockey team blew a lead but still had their own theatrics in Oxford.
After finishing regulation and overtime tied at 1-1, the Ohio State men’s hockey team defeated Miami University, 1-0, in a sudden death shootout in Oxford. It wasn’t quite as dramatic as what happened in Madison or as meaningful to the end of the season’s postseason hopes as the football game, but hey, it was still pretty fun.
Matt Tomkins got the start for Ohio State after replacing an injured Christian Frey during last weekend’s game versus Air Force in the Ice Breaker tournament. He played well in relief last weekend, but couldn’t keep blanking the troops in the shootout, as OSU was upset and lost the tourney after upsetting then-No. 3 Denver in their opener.
Tomkins put together another strong effort on Saturday night, allowing only one goal and stopping the only shootout attempt against him. He needed a strong outing, as Miami kept up with the No. 15/19 Buckeyes, even outshooting OSU 10-6 in the first period.
But the only score in that period was David Gust’s first of the year, as he put in a rebound off of a Dakota Joshua shot at 14:51. Both teams would get multiple opportunities on the man advantage in the first, but Gust’s tally would be the only one that would find its way in.
In the second period, Miami wouldn’t be so unfortunate. Minnesota Wild draft pick Louie Belpedio tied it on a 5-on-3 shot from the point. The teams would again trade powerplay opportunities, with OSU outshooting Miami 7-6 in the period, but nobody else would put one home and the game would go into the second intermission tied at one apiece. Miami got one past Tomkins, but it hit the post and stayed out, keeping the game tied.
Ohio State again outshot Miami 7-6 in the third, but this time, nobody would be able to put one home to give them the regulation victory. The best opportunity would come from the Buckeyes’ John Wiitala, who sliced through the two RedHawk defenders, but was stoned by Miami goalie Ryan Larkin to again keep the game tied.
In overtime, Miami would hit a crossbar and then stop Ohio State as they returned serve on a 2-on-1 odd man rush. OSU would go on the powerplay with 1:59 left in the period, but again fail to convert, and the game would officially end in a 1-1 tie.
The two teams would then engage in a 3-on-3 overtime period, despite the game already being in the official books as a tie (college hockey is weird). Neither team would score there either, somehow, even with play going on uninterrupted for almost two and a half minutes at one point.
Off to the sudden death shootout the teams went, and heralded rookie Tanner Laczynski, the Philadelphia Flyers draft pick and underdog who may have played himself onto the U.S. World Junior U20 team, scored the winner for OSU after Tomkins made a save to start the shootout duel.
All Ohio State had to do tonight was show they belong with an in-state rival who’s consistently been better and beat OSU twice last season. They showed that, with an even shot total and the eventual win in the shootout, even with their backup goalie in.
The hockey Bucks will look to keep it going next weekend when they have a home and home with another in-state rival, No. 20 Bowling Green. They’ll open it up at Bowling Green on Friday and then in Columbus on Saturday night.