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College Hockey:
Robert Morris overcomes two ejections to defeat Ohio State behind Brace’s two points

— Friday’s contest between Robert Morris and Ohio State was a brutal one. The game featured 67 minutes of penalties, as well as three players getting ejected.

Despite having two players booted in the second period and having to kill off a pair of major penalties, Robert Morris improved to 3-0 in Columbus all-time with a 3-2, come-from-behind win over Ohio State. Adam Brace led the Colonials with a goal and an assist.

“I think we showed a tremendous amount of heart,” Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley said. “Losing two forwards, being down to 10 forwards, killing two five-minute majors, I think we showed a lot of heart and guts. We bent but we never broke at the end.

“We got the lead and got a little sloppy at times, but a lot of that was because we were tired and playing a short bench.”

Friday’s contest was not the response Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki was looking for after the Buckeyes pulled off a sweep at Michigan State last weekend.

“There was zero flow in the game; that is frustrating,” Osiecki said. “You have nine penalties, a major, I know they had a couple of majors, but it is tough to play the game that way.”

Alex Lippincott set the tone for Friday’s contest, leading off the game with a tripping penalty 18 seconds in. Robert Morris had nine power-play opportunities, but only converted on one. The Colonials lone power-play goal came eight minutes into the third when Scott Jacklin tipped Jeff Jones’ cross-ice pass past the stick of Ohio State goalie Brady Hjelle to notch the game-winner.

Despite being outscored, the Buckeyes outshot the Colonials, 45-27, for the game, a season-high in shots.

“We had a lot of good looks at the net,” Osiecki said. “We are still trying to find that magic with who is going to step up and be the ultimate point getter.”

The contest came with a pair of game misconducts and one game disqualification. Robert Morris’ Greg Gibson got expelled 2:10 into the second when he was whistled for contact to the head. Later in the second, teammate Brandon Denham was called for a game disqualification for roughing Ohio State defender Devon Krogh into the end boards. Denham’s penalty means he is ineligible to play in Saturday’s rematch between the two squads.

Brace was up to the challenge of killing off a pair of majors by scoring a short-handed goal on the final of the two majors in the second.

“It is (challenging) but it is fun,” Brace said. “Trying to kill the penalties for your teammates, it brings you closer to your teammates, especially when you are able to score a goal. Even killing the penalties off, it got our bench going and we didn’t feel tired in the third because we had momentum.”

Lippincott got an early dismissal from the game 43 seconds into the third for his check to Robert Morris’ Cody Wydo, which resulted in a game misconduct.

“I have been in coaching for 15 years and I don’t think I have ever seen two five-minute majors on one team,” Schooley said, “and then a third five-minute major on the other team. But I will give the referees credit, they were consistent with their calls.”

Matt Johnson put the Buckeyes on the board 1:51 into the first with a wrister from the right dot that beat the glove of Robert Morris goalie Eric Levine.

The Buckeyes killed off four Colonials’ power plays in the first period, as Hjelle made several sprawling saves, including one on Robert Morris forward David Friedmann.

The Colonials knotted the game at one 35 seconds before the first intermission when Andrew Blazek notched his eighth goal of the season with a shot from between the circle through the legs of Hjelle.

After a cross-checking penalty by Friedmann, Ohio State capitalized on the ensuing power play, as Max McCormick redirected Craig Dalrymple’s shot from the right point to beat Levine glove side 1:10 into the second. Robert Morris responded 15:27 into the period when Brace picked off a pass from Tanner Fritz and scored short-handed on a breakaway.

“Just killing of a five-minute major is a momentum swing,” Schooley said. “Killing off a five-minute major with a short-handed goal really provided a lot of life.”

In five games played in the Value City Arena this season, there have been nine game misconducts or disqualifications; three by the Buckeyes and six by their opponents.

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