COLUMBUS, Ohio — It literally doesn’t get any closer than this.
With .1 seconds left on the clock on overtime, Mike Glumac broke a scoreless tie — and his team’s 180-plus minutes of scorelessness — to give the Miami RedHawks a 1-0 win over No. 14 Ohio State.
“I was beginning to wonder when we were finally going to score one,” said Miami head coach Enrico Blasi, whose RedHawks were shut out in two consecutive contests against Michigan State Nov. 16-17.
“We got a lucky bounce at the end and we’ll take it,” said Blasi.
That bounce went right from OSU netminder Mike Betz’s pads to Glumac’s skate. A replay showed that the puck went into the net off of Glumac’s skate, but there was no indication that it was directed in, and the Miami senior himself didn’t know how the puck found its way into the goal.
“Chris Knupp just tossed it out front, and I kind of tipped it,” said Glumac. “I think Betz saved it and I didn’t really see much after that. I think it might have bounced off the defender and gone in.”
Betz, who joked that he felt “physically ill” after the game, said that he couldn’t tell from replay how the puck went in.
“I saw it in regular speed, and you can’t really tell what it went off of. It was a fluky goal, off of someone’s skate, shoulder, or something.”
The OSU goaltender said he’d never played in a game like it.
“Unbelievable is the only way you can describe it,” said Betz. “Never in the world do you expect it with one second — with less than one second — left.
“I saw it go in, and I just looked up [at the clock] praying to see a zero, and I didn’t see a zero.”
The game couldn’t have been much tighter, a 0-0 tie going into OT, each team with 23 shots on goal in regulation. It was tight, a bit chippy, with man-to-man coverage and a lot of action in the neutral zone.
“I thought it was a good game,” said Blasi. “Both teams had chances. Maybe they had a couple more than we did. Burleigh and Betz played great. They stopped breakaways, two-on-ones, whatever.”
Indeed. David Burleigh stopped 28 shots in his shutout; Mike Betz stopped 24 in his near-shutout. Although neither team generated many shots on the power play — six shots on seven power plays for Miami, four shots on seven for Ohio State — both the RedHawks and the Buckeyes had their fair share of chances in regulation.
Midway through the first, Burleigh stopped a tenacious second effort by Chris Olsgard, who picked up his own rebound while falling down, and shot again.
On the RedHawk power play in the second, Betz took away Jason Deskins’ angle and made a great kick save low and near the right post.
Early in the third, Burleigh thwarted a good breakaway attempt by Paul Caponigri, and later in the period Betz had to reach behind him to stop another Deskins shot, one that nearly squeaked through five-hole.
“I thought it was a tie game,” said OSU head coach John Markell. “I thought both teams fought hard, had their chances. Obviously, a bad bounce at the end. If you’re in the game long enough, you play in games like this where it’s against you and you play in games where it’s for you.”
“It’s this defeated feeling,” said Betz. “You know you deserved at least a tie. All you can [do] is just sigh. We were motivated to play tonight, but we didn’t even get a point out of it.”
Betz, a long-time friend of Burleigh, pointed out that no matter how the Miami goaltender is playing against other opponents, Burleigh is always tough against the Buckeyes.
“That kid makes a career against us. It’s good for him. I can almost guarantee this is going to jump-start him into something really, really good.”
Blasi said that the rivalry between the two squads is good for both teams, and helps each prepare for tough league play down the road.
“Every time these two teams play, they’re going to compete and they’re going to play hard, and they leave it all on the ice. That’s what rivalries are all about.
“Sometimes you don’t play with the enthusiasm and the passion that you would against a rival, and you get into bad habits and things like that. John has his guys prepared. I thought our guys were prepared. They battled hard, it could have gone either way, and it took a lucky bounce, as far as I’m concerned, for us to win.”
The RedHawks (7-5-1, 5-3-1 CCHA) host the Buckeyes (8-4-1, 5-3-1) Saturday night in Goggin Arena, and Markell said that his job now is to take “a negative, obviously a bad feeling” and prepare his team for the rematch.
“In this kind of game, when you’re one-tenth of a second away from getting a point, it’s a bad break.”