OXFORD, Ohio – Saturday evening’s rivalry renewal between the Miami hockey team and No. 15/19 Ohio State featured plenty of action and a lot of extra hockey played as the teams skated to a 1-1 tie at Steve ‘Coach’ Cady Arena on Saturday night.
Louie Belpedio’s power play goal 4:11 into the second period erased a 1-0 deficit for the RedHawks (1-1-1) while Ryan Larkin made 23 saves in allowing just one goal for the second-straight start. The teams played 70 minutes of hockey without breaking that tie before the Buckeyes (1-0-2) won the sudden death shootout.
“I thought we settled down after the first period and played our game,” head coach Enrico Blasi said. “The power play goal was huge. We had a couple of great chances to go up 2-1, hit a couple of posts. I thought both goaltenders played great tonight.”
The Buckeyes drew first blood 4:32 in by turning a neutral zone turnover into a goal. Sasha Laroque fed Dakota Joshua into the zone on a clean entry with some open ice. His shot was blockered away by Ryan Larkin, but David Gust got to the rebound atop the crease and buried it to make it a 1-0 OSU lead.
Miami went to work on a power play shortly after the Ohio State tally where it put together some grade-A scoring opportunities. Josh Melnick took an entry pass and cut into the middle for an off balance shot that Matt Tomkins fought off. The rebound came to Kiefer Sherwood on the doorstep, but Tomkins again made a stop. The tail end of the man advantage nearly bore fruit as a Willie Knierim shot was kicked away, but the rebound came to the opposite side high in the left circle, where a follow up shot just missed the net.
Ohio State went on its first power play at the 11:17 mark and the RedHawks created a tremendous short-handed chance when Anthony Louis lugged the puck up ice for a controlled zone entry. After a few passes around, the puck ended up on Melnick’s stick near the top of the crease, where he turned around and shot, but Tomkins squeezed the pads to keep it out. Miami was under duress for the back half of the power play as Larkin was tested with three shots, including a big stop on a back door feed to Matthew Weis that Larkin moved from post to post to make the save.
The Red and White got two more abbreviated power plays during the remainder of the first and outshot the Buckeyes by a 10-6 margin in the first period, but the score remained 1-0 at intermission.
Constant Miami pressure on the Ohio State net led to a couple of penalties in the first few minutes. After a penalty at the 2:29 mark gave MU its fourth power play of the evening. Just over a minute later, a deft centering feed by Louis to Carson Meyer in the slot drew another Buckeye penalty, giving the Red and White a 5-on-3. That open space eventually evened the score as Sherwood dug the puck out from the half wall, fed Belpedio at the point, who in turn swing it to the right circle to Louis and then got a return pass where he one-timed a shot in to tie the score just 4:11 into the middle stanza.
Miami continued to pressure throughout the period and nearly capitalized with goals a couple different times. Meyer brought the puck up ice and beat Tomkins clean with a wrist shot from the left circle, but it clanged off the crossbar about six and a half minutes in. With time winding down in the period, Kiefer Sherwood had the puck with space on the right wing with a 2-on-1, his wrister also got by Tompkins, but rung off the bar as well. The score remained tied at 1-1 after two periods with Miami owning a 16-13 advantage in shots.
The third period was a back and forth affair with Ohio State getting a power play 5:24 into the frame with a chance to take the lead. Miami’s penalty killing unit was again equal to the task and ate away two minutes to keep the game tied. Shortly after the power play expired, the Buckeyes had a great chance in on goal as John Wiitala took a pass in the middle of the neutral zone with a full head of steam, catching the RedHawk defense a bit flat footed. He got through a seam for a breakaway, but Larkin stuck with him to make his biggest stop of the game to leave it tied.
Miami had its opportunity to grab the lead with about eight minutes gone by. Dogged work on the boards by Sherwood kept a RedHawk possession alive for over a minute in the offensive zone and he eventually found Gordie Green on the middle for a one-timer that just missed the net by inches.
After dishing out an assist on the tying goal, Louis tried to get on the scoresheet himself with an active shift past the midway point of the frame. The dynamic senior blasted a slap shot off an offensive zone draw win that Tomkins stopped. Later in the same shift, Louis found a soft spot in the slot for a wrist shot that Tomkins fought off and at the end he went to his backhand for a couple of shots that ended up with Tomkins covering.
Despite the slew of opportunities, the contest remained tied and wore into the extra five minutes session. While the Buckeyes had a 4-1 edge in shots in the overtime frame, the RedHawks had the first crack at a victory when Sherwood came up the left side with the puck and left it atop the circle for Karch Bachman. The speedy freshman wired a wrist shot that got by Tomkins, but hit the crossbar to leave it tied. Ohio State controlled the second half of the period, with Larkin making a sprawling save on a second chance by Nick Schilkey. A Miami penalty with 1:59 left in overtime left Ohio State a man up for the remainder of the period, where it got two more shots through to Larkin that he steered aside to preserve the tie.
With a second left on a carryover penalty, the 3-on-3 overtime period began with a brief 4-on-3 for Ohio State before most of the first 2:30 of the frame played out at 4-on-4. Even with open ice, both teams were responsible getting back defensively and odd-man rushes were not prevalent. Only one shot reached the goalie in that extra session and the contest went to the sudden death shootout, where Tomkins stopped Louis on his attempt before Tanner Laczynski ended it on his try.
The Buckeyes ended up narrowly outshooting the RedHawks by a 24-23 margin. Miami went 1-for-6 on the power play while killing off all four Ohio State man advantages. Larkin turned aside 23 of 24 shots while Tomkins made 22 saves on 23 attempts.
Miami continues its home stand on Friday when it opens a weekend series against Maine. Puck drops for game one at 7:35 p.m.