COLUMBUS, Ohio — Second-ranked Miami used its power play to fire three goals past Ohio State goaltender Collin Olson en route to a 6-2 win Friday evening.
The two squads square off again Saturday evening in Oxford.
“[We need to] stay out of the box, pretty simple,” Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik said. “The head of officials [Steve Piotrowski] came down and talked about it. I think you are going to see it across college hockey. A lot more penalties here and emphasis on some things, but our guys have to be responsible on that.”
Miami converted on three out of its nine power-play opportunities.
Six different RedHawks scored goals Friday and sophomore forward Sean Kuraly tallied three helpers.
MU had an early 2-0 lead off a pair of five-on-three man advantages. OSU briefly tied the game at two in the third period. The 2-2 stalemate lasted 29 seconds as Miami went on to score four-unanswered goals in the third.
“We put a lot of work into [the power play],” Kuraly said. “Those things don’t come easy. We worked hard at that in practice and it showed tonight.”
Miami’s two five-on-three goals came 1:04 apart early in the first period. Forwards Austin Czarnik and Alex Wideman scored the goals.
“You get a couple of penalties and you capitalize early and all of a sudden, it settles everybody down, especially the younger guys,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said.
After a scoreless second period where OSU took some of MU’s momentum, the Buckeyes responded with goals from Darik Angeli and Chad Niddery to knot the game at two 2:53 into the third period.
“I thought about calling timeout, but I felt first game of the year, I wanted to see how these guys responded and these guys responded real well,” Blasi said.
Miami’s Cody Murphy answered 29 seconds after Niddery’s goal with a shot that beat the glove of Olson to give MU a 3-2 lead. Miami piled on with third period goals from Blake Coleman, Anthony Louis and Ben Paulides. For Louis and Paulides, it was their first collegiate goals.
“Murphy’s goal was the pivotal point in the game,” Kuraly said. “We kind of lost ourselves there for a moment, but I was really happy with how we came back. It was huge for our team.”
With the two teams joining new conferences this year [Miami to the NCHC and Ohio State to the Big Ten], both coaches felt it was important to keep in the in-state rivalry alive. A boisterous crowd of 4,831 was on hand and was evenly divided between fans for both squads.
“It is what college hockey is all about,” Blasi said. “I know we’re both in different leagues, but this is our state and we want to take care of it. Playing a home-and-home is important for both institutions.”
“[Preserving the rivalry] was the first thing that was talked about when the leagues were breaking up,” Rohlik said. “We want to continue this [and] we’ll play Miami for as long as we can.”
Friday’s game was Rohlik’s first as the head coach. He replaced Mark Osiecki, who was fired by OSU during the offseason.
“It was very humbling and an honor to walk out there and lead this program,” Rohlik said. “Especially these guys in this room because I know what we have and I know the character that we have.”