After being off for 20 days, any win is a win and you take it, even if it’s a nail biter over Niagara when you’re a top 10 team. It may not have been pretty and it may have taken a goal with seven seconds left, but it still counts just the same as the December 9th 4-1 win over Minnesota.
No. 9 Ohio State extended their win streak to three with the win over Niagara in Columbus, following the weekend sweep of No. 10 Minnesota on December 8th and 9th. The Buckeyes improve to 11-4-4 and look to continue their climb up the rankings and into the NCAA tournament as they host Niagara again on Saturday night in Columbus.
This one sure looked like it’d be a laugher, though, through the first period. Ohio State came out with a 2-0 lead after outshooting their opponent 15-8. Matt Miller scored the first for OSU at 15:57 of the first, with assists from Kevin Miller and Mason Jobst, and then Sam McCormick followed it up to make it 2-0 just 33 seconds later. Matt Joyaux and Brendon Kearney had the helpers on that one.
Sean Romeo stopped all eight shots fired against him by Niagara and Ohio State looked like they’d cruise. They didn’t.
Niagara struck once in the second at 9:06, as Johnny Curran, who sounds like a deadball- era baseball player, made it 2-1. That score would hold into the second intermission, but Niagara was certainly showing more life headed into the third. They outshot the Buckeyes 12-9 in the second and were suddenly within one bounce of tying it up.
And they’d get it in the third at 14:43. James Roll scored to tie it up after the game remained at 2-1 through nearly the first three quarters of the period. But just nearly. And Niagara Roll’d to a tie and certainly looked like they were headed for overtime. Shut up.
But Tanner Laczynski had other ideas with 6.3 seconds left in regulation. Matt Weis carried the puck into the offensive zone and fired it toward the center of the offensive zone, where it bounced onto the stick of Freddy Gerard who fired on net. Brian Wilson Smiled and stopped it but Laczynski picked up the rebound and and put it in past Wilson’s glove hand.
Suddenly what looked like a possible tie turned into an Ohio State win just like (snap) that. That’s what good teams do. They beat the teams they’re supposed to beat even when they aren’t at their best. And if Ohio State wants to cement itself as a top 10 team, that’s what they have to keep doing. Niagara is a team they should beat. And they did.
Sean Romeo stopped 28/30 shots for a, once again, spectacular .933 save percentage. A lesser performance probably loses the game but once again, Romeo proved the MVP of the team and the biggest reason this team has continued to ascend nationally despite losing much of the offensive production from last year’s team.
The Buckeyes will look to keep the good times rolling tomorrow night as they host Niagara again at 8pm. Go Bucks.