OXFORD, Ohio — Steve Cady Arena is in its third season of existence and Ohio State made their sixth visit to the new Oxford venue while posting their first victory ever in the arena with a stunning 6-2 win over Miami in front of an overflow crowd of 3,642.
Miami outshot Ohio State 29-26 for the game. Both teams limited penalties. Ohio State committed four penalties, Miami was penalized twice. For Ohio State, this is their first top 20 road win since Oct. 25 at Denver. However, this is their third win against a top 10 team in five games.
“They obviously outplayed us in every aspect of the game, and they deserved to win,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “There’s not much to say about that.
“They worked hard tonight; they were ready to play, ready to execute. When that happens sometimes you get the bounces. We made a couple of key mistakes in key areas on the ice; we gave them odd-man rushes, and they simply made the most of it.”
Ohio State’s Kyle Reed matched his entire season’s scoring output with his fourth goal of the season in the first, fifth in the second, and sixth in the third. He also added in with an assist for a four point effort.
“I mean the first two goals were big goals,” Reed said. “We needed to come out there and I was thinking before the game today, if they get the first goal, that is what they feed off of. To get the first one gave the team the momentum we needed.”
With seeding in the CCHA playoffs still up for grabs, Saturday’s rematch in Value City Arena in Columbus is highly important for both teams. The Buckeyes will need at least one point against the RedHawks to secure a first round bye and avoid playing at Alaska in a possible second round matchup the week before their finals. The RedHawks are tied with Michigan with both teams playing Saturday. Michigan has the tiebreaker over Miami with league wins. All CCHA teams complete their conference schedules Saturday.
“With our backs against the wall, playing a good team in a hostile environment, I am really proud how the kids played,” Ohio State coach John Markell said. “We had to get two points in regulation and we got it. Now we got to go back and do it again; we need twice the effort tomorrow night.”
In the first period, both goaltenders were solid. The only notch was on Miami goaltender Connor Knapp 10:45 into the first period. Reed stole a cross-ice pass in his own offensive zone from Miami’s Justin Mercier and skated to the net and shot the puck past the glove of Knapp.
Dustin Carlson was perfect in the first with 12 saves, stoning Miami on several good scoring chances. Knapp had 10 saves in the period. Reed’s goal was the first time the Buckeyes held a lead in the three year old arena.
Solid goaltending, however, was at a minimum in the second period. Reed scored his second goal 5:19 into the second on a two-on-one opportunity with fellow Ohio State forward Hunter Bishop.
Miami cut the lead in half 8:39 into the second when RedHawks’ forward Brian Kaufman stole a Corey Toy pass in Ohio State’s attack zone and skated down the ice to beat Carlson glove side. Miami tied the game at 13:09 of the second when Jarod Palmer’s slap shot from the blue line rocketed past Carlson.
However, the Buckeyes answered. Kyle Reed got his third point of the game when he assisted on Sergio Somma’s 10th of the season just 16 seconds later to give OSU a 3-2 lead.
“It was real important (to get that third goal),” Markell said. “It settled us back down. We knew there would be highs and low in the game. Obviously, that would have been a low had they gotten ahead of us 3-2.”
“That was a big moment for them to come back right away and score,” Blasi said. “They took our momentum away.”
Ohio State regained their two-goal edge with 4:02 left in the second when John Albert’s shot from the right faceoff circle was redirected by C.J. Severyn. Knapp had just four saves on Ohio State’s seven shots on goal in the second.
Reed notched his first career hat trick and the Buckeyes’ first trick of the season at 13:48 of the third when he scored on a rebound that squirted past Knapp. Miami decided to pull Knapp with just over five minutes left, but the RedHawks were unable to generate any good scoring opportunities.
“It has been a frustrating year for him, but there is not a better time for him to come up with the hat trick,” Markell said of Reed.
With 2:53 remaining, senior captain Zach Pelletier scored his fourth of the season, knocking the puck into the vacated net.
Saturday’s rematch could pose the RedHawks a challenge. Miami has had trouble this season in Columbus. They lost to Ohio State in a shootout on Oct. 10. Miami had two non-conference losses in the Ohio Hockey Classic in Value City Arena in early January against sub-.500 teams.
“We need to regroup, and definitely execute a little better tomorrow night than we did today,” Blasi said
“We are not going to soak this one up as much,” Somma said. “We have another 60 minutes and we’ll go at it tomorrow.”