COLUMBUS, Ohio — The No. 5 Miami RedHawks, led by two-point efforts from forwards Blake Coleman and Riley Barber, go into the holiday break on a winning note after defeating Ohio State, 3-1, at the Schottenstein Center Saturday evening.
Coleman scored the eventual game-winner on a power play 3:33 into the second, and Barber added an insurance goal with 26 seconds left in the third into Ohio State’s empty net.
Miami takes five out of six points from Ohio State.
“Ohio State plays a physical game and they play good defensively, so you have to get after them and make them make mistakes,” Barber said. “I think us coming out and banging, making them coughing up the puck, was a key point to our game.”
Miami’s penalty kill was stifling, killing off all five penalties in Saturday’s contest and nine penalties for the weekend. Ohio State did not manage its first power-play shot until its fifth power play of the game. Miami allowed three power-play goals last week to Lake Superior State.
“Our power play, again, we’re not scoring a lot of goals,” Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki said. “We have to generate something off of it. We are going to have to try to figure something out there, that is for sure. We can’t continue going the way we’re going on the power play.”
Miami coach Enrico Blasi was pleased with the progress the RedHawks showed on the power play.
“Last week, we weren’t very good on the penalty kill,” Blasi said. “I thought this weekend, they were much more determined. We did a good job of keeping them to the outside. We blocked a lot of shots. When we didn’t block it, we had a big save.”
The RedHawks will enter the second half of the CCHA season tied for first place with Notre Dame with 30 points. Ohio State is in fourth place in the conference with 22 points.
The RedHawks dominated the first period, outshooting the Buckeyes, 11-5. Ohio State got bailed out by the post with five minutes left in the period when Kevin Morris had Ohio State goalie Brady Hjelle beat. Hjelle was not as lucky later in the frame. Miami’s Alex Gacek fired a wrister from between the circles which snuck under Hjelle’s glove-side post to give the RedHawks a 1-0 advantage.
“They came out with a purpose in the first period,” Osiecki said. “We certainly didn’t play to our liking in the first two periods.”
“I thought the guys were into it right off the bat,” Blasi said. “To get the first goal in the last minute was a huge momentum shift.”
Miami carried the momentum into the second period, outshooting Ohio State, 13-7, and taking advantage of a power play. Coleman scored his fifth of the season 3:33 into third. He cleaned a rebound from Barber, whose shot glanced off an Ohio State leg and right to Coleman, who was trailing to play.
Ohio State came out in the third period with more energy and outshot the RedHawks, 11-10, for the stanza. Ohio State’s Max McCormick scored from between the hashes with a shot that beat the glove of Ryan McKay.
McKay put together yet another sterling effort between the pipes for Miami. He stopped all but one of the 22 shots he faced. He has only allowed three goals in six games played. The RedHawks’ freshmen goaltending duo have a goals-against average of 1.62.
“We’re trying to continue to recruit to our culture,” Blasi said. “Guys we are recruiting are guys who believe in what we’re trying to doing in the program, and it is nice to see them develop and have success at the same time.”
Osiecki, along with Miami freshmen Sean Kuraly and Barber, are traveling to Tarrytown, N.Y., tomorrow for the start of training camp for the United States World Junior Hockey Championships squad. Osiecki is an assistant for Team USA. Barber and Kuraly were named to the preliminary roster of 27. The camp will whittle the roster down to 23.
“It is obviously a huge tournament and I am honored to be able to try to make it and go over there with good effort and great attitude and see what happens,” Barber said.
Both squads are taking the next 11 days off. Both the RedHawks and Buckeyes resume practice on Dec. 26, and play each other on Dec. 28 at the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh.