COLUMBUS, Ohio — When the Ohio State Buckeyes scheduled a home nonconference series against the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers, they probably thought they would use the early December weekend to hone up skills and regroup for the second half.
Instead, the Chargers came to Columbus and took three of four points from the Bucks in two games, fueled by Scott Munroe’s 101-save effort and two Steve Canter last-minute goals.
Just as the final buzzer sounded in Friday’s contest, Canter buried his second goal of the weekend to send this game into overtime, where it ended with a 2-2 tie. Last night, Canter scored the game-winning goal with 43 seconds left in regulation.
“Steve Canter is a clutch player for us,” said UAH head coach Doug Ross. “He’s always been a guy who can score goals. He’s a good player for us. He goes to the net with the puck.”
Mike Salekin, who had a goal and two assists in Friday’s 4-3 win, had the other Charger goal Friday. Tyson Strachan and Dominic Maiani scored for Ohio State; Maiani led the Buckeyes with a goal and an assist as the Buckeyes outshot the Chargers 51-21.
“It was a good game tonight,” said Ross. “Either team could have won. We had some opportunities; they probably had more opportunities because they had a lot more shots on net.
“Scotty Munroe stopped a hundred shots this weekend. That’s a lot of pucks. He needs a day off, a couple of days off.”
Munroe made a total of 101 saves as OSU outshot UAH 106-47 on the weekend.
“He was a good goalie, a big guy,” said Maiani. “We just didn’t get in front of him enough. Fifty shots or whatever he was gloving them, and we just had to get in front of him if we wanted to score, bear down and get in front of him.”
The Buckeyes came out of the first period with a 1-0 lead on Tyson Strachan’s goal at 1:49. Charger Bruce Mulherin grabbed a clearing attempt out of midair in front of the OSU net and fired from the top of the right circle, hitting the right post. Ohio State brought the puck up and dumped it into the UAH zone, where Mulherin dug it out of the right corner, sending it to Maiani. Maiani touched it up to Strachan at the blue line, and Strachan fired, finding nothing but net midway up on the right side of the Charger cage.
The teams exchanged a pair of power-play goals late in the second to bring the score to 2-1 after two. Salekin scored a four-on-three, tic-tac-toe goal at 16:43, but Maiani answered with his goal at 18:15, picking up a Rod Pelley rebound in traffic to the right of UAH net.
Through two periods, the Buckeyes outshot the Chargers 24-10, and in the third OSU came on in waves in the UAH zone but was unable to solve Munroe for the insurance goal.
With just a minute to go in regulation, UAH pulled Munroe for the extra attacker, and with the final seconds ticking down, OSU goaltender Dave Caruso was left to fend for himself, stopping Mulherin’s initial shot and then Jeremy Schreiber’s rebound before Canter came through on the third attempt as regulation ended.
The Chargers finished the game with a shortened bench, having lost David Nimmo to an injury and Josh Murray to a game misconduct, both in the second period. Ross said that Nimmo may have a concussion and is likely to be all right.
“We went three lines late in the game,” said Ross, “Just wanted to play off transitions, pick up our wings, wait for some mistakes, and come back at them.”
OSU head coach John Markell said that the Buckeyes need to be more poised with the puck but that the team made mistakes on both sides of the blue line.
“Our lack of goal scoring right now is hurting us. Our puck possession skills are not there.
“Obviously, we generated 51 shots. I don’t think that all 51 were grade-A scoring chances, but I think we had enough opportunities to secure game, even in the first period.
“We made mistakes with the six-on-five, and it cost us two points. The overall effort, I thought, was there. We made some very tiny steps from last night. I thought it was a physical series.”
The Chargers finished the night 1-for-6 on the power play to OSU’s 1-for-8. Caruso had 19 saves in the contest.
Next up for Alabama-Huntsville (5-4-1, 2-2-0 CHA) is a two-game road series against Princeton Dec. 9-10, while Ohio State (7-6-2, 6-4-1 CCHA) welcomes Union for a Saturday-Sunday series, Dec. 10-11.