ESTERO, Fla. — Ohio State’s R.J. Umberger continued his hot streak, scoring the game’s lone goal at 15:24 of the first period to lift the No. 11 Buckeyes to a 1-0 Everblades College Classic consolation game win over No. 3 Cornell at TECO Arena Sunday.
Ohio State freshman goaltender Dave Caruso that score stand, stopping all 24 shots he faced to pick up his first career shutout in only his fourth start. Umberger, a junior center, has now scored nine goals and four assists in his last six games, including four game-winning goals over that span.
“My confidence is very high and I feel I’m playing the way I’m supposed to be,” said Umberger, who has 15 goals and 10 assists on the season. “My job is to score goals.”
The win took a little of the sting off the Buckeyes’ 3-2 shootout loss to Massachusetts Saturday. Ohio State officially received credit for a tie in that game and now stands at 13-4-2 on the season.
The Buckeyes and Big Red (10-3) also met in the consolation game last season, which Ohio State won 2-0.
“Obviously, after a hard way to lose this is a good win,” Ohio State coach John Markell said. “It was a good hockey game to watch, both teams played well.”
Both goaltenders played well. Cornell’s Todd Marr, making his second consecutive start in his second-ever collegiate appearance, stopped 21 shots to wind up a hard-luck loser for the second straight night. Marr lost to second-ranked Maine 3-2 Saturday.
“It’s frustrating we can’t score two nights in a row,” said Cornell coach Mike Schafer, whose team beat Ohio State 3-1 in the Big Red’s season-opening game Nov. 1. “We had plenty of chances, plenty of blown chances. Their kid played well in goal.”
Caruso made the stops he had to, although Umberger saved one sure goal in the second period when he blocked a shot headed for the back of the net.
“I feel great,” said Caruso, who improved to 3-1. “It’s a good win against a high-ranked team. I thought the guys played well in front of me. All I had to do was see it and stop it.”
Schafer was disappointed at some of the lapses in discipline his team displayed, one of which allowed Umberger to break in on Marr on a 2-on-1 for the game-winner.
“I see ourselves as a top-10 team,” Schafer said. “Both games this weekend were tough games against Maine and Ohio State, but out guys worked hard and deserved a better fate in both games.”
Ed Reed covers hockey for the News-Press of Ft. Myers, Fla., in which this story appears.