OXFORD, Ohio — Miami sophomore Riley Barber recorded a four-goal night to lead the RedHawks to a 6-3 victory over their former CCHA rivals, the Ohio State Buckeyes. Goals have come easily for the RedHawks so far this season, as they beat their in-state rivals 6-2 one night prior in Columbus.
Barber, who last year was named the CCHA’s last-ever Rookie of the Year, predicted that Miami’s veteran offense would only get better.
“We have a lot more talent up front with the freshmen coming in. Now we’re ready to play, we’re not freshmen any more. We’re really deep up front, and we showed it scoring around.”
For the second night in a row, the RedHawks came out firing. Barber needed only 14 seconds to find the back of the net on Saturday. He took a feed from junior Austin Czarnik and simply slipped it past Ohio State’s freshman goaltender Matt Tomkins. He extended Miami’s lead at 4:27 when a streaking Czarnik dropped the puck to him in front of Tomkins.
Czarnik assisted on three of Barber’s goals. The junior captain is enjoying superb chemistry with Barber, as noted by coach Enrico Blasi.
“They’re just dynamic, they’re always moving, and they’re really good at anticipating things,” Blasi said. “They’re a good compliment to each other.”
The Buckeyes did get one goal back just before the end of the period, scoring their first of two power-play goals at 18:03. As the Buckeyes assaulted the Miami net, the puck came to senior Alex Szczechura on the goal line at McKay’s right, and he roofed a shot that clanged off the inside of the crossbar.
Ohio State maintained momentum into the second frame, coming up just short on several scoring chances, but the RedHawks regained a two-goal cushion of 3-1 when sophomore Sean Kuraly sneaked a shot inside of the post under Tomkins’ arm at 13:34. The Buckeyes remained unfazed, striking back again at 17:38 when Szczechura tipped in a wrister by junior Tanner Fritz for his second goal of the night. Once again the RedHawks responded quickly, with Barber completing his hat trick just 54 seconds later on a Miami power play.
The Buckeyes found themselves with a five-on-three advantage early in the final period, but were unable to capitalize. Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik said that missed opportunity was huge.
“You’ve got to take advantage, and we didn’t take advantage of our chance on the five-on-three,” he said. “All of a sudden, they [Miami] smell blood and they get one back.”
Miami pushed the lead to 5-2 at 14:17 in the third period when Czarnik beat a defender in a footrace, and then beat Tomkins over the shoulder for his second goal of the season. Barber’s final goal was scored into an open net at 17:14 when the Buckeyes were trying to make something happen with a six-on-four power play. They did get a score 17 seconds later off of the stick of sophomore Tyler Lundey, but by then it was too late.