COLUMBUS, Ohio — When the Mavericks came back from a two-goal deficit to tie the Buckeyes 2-2, they had more than their hard work to thank. They owed more than a little to a broken piece of glass.
“I think one of the major turning points of the game probably occurred fortunately for us, bad break for Ohio State was when that piece of glass broke,” said UNO head coach Mike Kemp.
“I thought we were going pretty good, but when that glass broke something we just went into kind of a little bit of a lull,” said OSU head coach John Markell.
The Buckeyes were up, 2-0, on first-period goals by sophomores John Dingle and Tom Fritsche when a glass panel in the southwest corner of the rink broke and had to be replaced at 11:19 in the first. The play was stopped for only a few minutes, but the delay gave the shaky Mavericks and goaltender Jerad Kaufmann chance to regroup.
“They had the momentum at that point in time,” said Kemp, “and Jerad was a little rattled, and it allowed Jerad to kind of recompose himself and from that point forward he played very, very strong, especially in the third period when he came up big.”
Said Markell, “It carried on through the second period.”
UNO responded with Bryan Marshall’s power-play goal at 15:05 in the first, and Mick Lawrence’s even-strength tally at 5:17 in the second. In spite of a redoubled Buckeye effort in the third period and overtime, the Mavericks went back to Omaha with three points while the Buckeyes had to settle for one at home.
“It makes up for us only getting one point last weekend against Notre Dame at home which was really frustrating,” said Kemp.
Dingle shot from the right circle, low to the ice, to beat just beat Kaufmann’s outsretched right leg at 6:09 in the first, the first Buckeye goal in over 80 minutes of play. Fritsche scored the first Buckeye power-play goal in 31 tries at 10:43, tucking the puck in between Kaufmann’s left leg and the cage’s right post.
Fast-forward less than five minutes of hockey time later but roughly 10, given the broken glass to the Maverick power play and Marshall’s goal, a shot from the right circle that got by a screened Dave Caruso, and the game was 2-1 in OSU’s favor after one.
Lawrence’s goal tied the game in the second, the result of some good cycling down low by the line of Lawrence, Bill Bagron, and Mike Lefley.
Lefley, who had the first assist on the goal, said that it, “just happened that the puck came on my stick when we were in the corner and I saw Mick come to the net but there was some traffic in front, so I kind of gave him a bullet pass and it ended up on his stick.”
Said Lawrence, “It went under the D-man’s feet and landed on my stick. Kind of had an empty net.”
Both Kaufmann and Caruso played hard in the third to preserve the tie, when the Mavericks outshot the Buckeyes, 15-13. Kaufmann looked especially good when both Lefley and Dan Knapp were in the box for UNO, giving the Buckeyes nearly a minute of five-on-three advantage, and Caruso went post-to-post to undermine Scott Parse’s nearly certain effort midway through the stanza.
“I thought in the third period the guys starting getting a little crisper and starting going after the win and doing the little things that we like them to do,” said Markell. “They got some momentum going.”
As with last night’s contest, Markell said fatigue was a factor for the Buckeyes; this was their fifth game in eight days, with an injury-shortened bench.
“To come out of here with a point tonight with our energy level you know, it was a very physical series, and to be able to grind that out, grind out a point against a team that was on its game.”
Kaufmann finished the night with 30 saves, while Caruso stopped 36. Both teams were 1-for-7 on the power play.
Nebraska-Omaha (12-10-2, 6-8-2 CCHA) heads home to host Michigan State Jan. 20-21, while Ohio State (11-9-4, 7-7-2) travels to Fairbanks, Alaska, to take on the Nanooks next weekend.