Ohio State lost on New Year’s Eve. I know we were all dreading hearing those words, but unfortunately, that awful outcome has emerged from the cold corpse of 2016. That’s right, the team whose outcome we were all looking for with baited breath on December 31, the Ohio State hockey team, lost to Miami, 6-3 on Saturday.
Leading scorer Tanner Laczynski missed the game to play for the United States U20 World Junior Championship team, so the Buckeyes came in shorthanded, and still ended up leading going into the third period, but were blown off the ice in that deciding frame.
And despite that lead, this game was about as discouraging as you could have possibly imagined, especially for a team coming off nearly a month long layoff with their last game being a big 8-3 win over typical heavyweight Minnesota. The Buckeyes didn’t have a single player with more than three shots on goal and as a team, only registered 15 on goal. It’s not as though OSU jumped out to a 3-0 lead and went into a shell early, which would partially explain that.
Ohio State was just dominated by a team that they should be dominating. The RedHawks put up 29 shots on goal, including 14 in the third period alone. Ohio State had 15 for the game, once again. Miami had 14 in the third period. Even if you got lucky enough to be up 3-2 going into that third period, there’s not much you can do but sit back and hope when you’re being dominated like that. And since this ain’t Rogue One, hope and a dream didn’t get the job done.
The Buckeyes actually outshot Miami 8-7 in the first period and the scoreboard seemed to show who the better team overall was. Tommy Parran’s fourth of the year made it 1-0 Ohio State and Mason Jobst’s sixth made it 2-0 just 9:17 in.
The Buckeyes may have rested for those next ten minutes, but looked as though they’d carry that two goal lead into the locker room. But with just five seconds left in the period, Josh Melnick slashed the lead for the Buckeyes in half and gave Miami all the momentum heading into the break.
They’d keep it going as they’d tie it just 1:57 into the second period as Carson Meyer knotted it at two apiece. That score would hold for more than fifteen minutes, before Ohio State took their lead back on David Gust’s 11th of the year at 17:25. That would be the lead the Bucks would take into the third. And then they’d get summarily obliterated.
In that second, despite the score being tied for over three quarters of the period, the more talented and better playing Ohio State team couldn’t assert their will. They only had six shots to Miami’s eight, making it a pretty unremarkable period in that both teams played equally when accounting for Miami being down for a little very early and very late and having the advantage then.
But in the third, Miami got tired of coming from behind and put the game well out of reach before the Buckeyes could wake up and rebound. They scored four goals on fourteen shots in that third period. Christian Frey saw his already poor .890 save percentage drop even further into the abyss as it’s getting pretty hard to defend a goalie who allows six goals on 29 shots. Double the number of shots and he still didn’t have a good game. Not great!
Ohio State did actually hold the lead for the first 12:03 of that final period before being blown off the planet and all the way out to Blips and Chitz. From 12:03 to 16:55, Miami had goals from, in order: Gordie Green, Kiefer Sherwood, Sherwood again and Scott Dornbrock. I challenge you to find three more “hockey” names than those three outside of the Minnesota high school championships.
Ohio State couldn’t come back in that third and didn’t show much fight to try and do it. They registered only a single shot in a period. You effectively have to be trying to not play offense for that to happen when you’re a top ten team. But Ohio State did it despite the game being tied for roughly the last eight minutes of regulation.
Things will surely look up for the Buckeyes after this right? How much worse can they get? Oh wait, they have to host No. 3 Penn State this Friday and Saturday in Columbus. That should be fun.