Sometimes, hockey is simply a game of capitalizing when given a bounce. That is exactly what the Miami RedHawks did Friday evening, as they took advantage of some odd bounces to defeat the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes, 5-3.
The RedHawks were able to quickly put their sweep by Northern Michigan last weekend behind them, scoring just 3:47 into the first. Austin Czarnik scored his seventh goal of the season on a play that started when Ohio State’s Brandon Martell’s clearing pass took a funny hop off the dasher board and hopped away from his teammate.
“We knew it was going to be a battle,” RedHawks forward Matt Tomassoni said. “Coaches told us (the Buckeyes) are a hard-working team. We knew that they were going to be tough to play against. It was more mentally preparing for it, knowing they were going to be coming at you.”
“I thought last week was disappointing, but it is one of those years where you have to put things behind you,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “We have had a tough first half (of the season) and our guys have been pretty good about letting things go and just getting ready. I knew we were going to play a great Ohio State team, and it was a battle.”
Ohio State had its 11-game unbeaten and nine-game winning streak snapped. Thirteen Ohio State freshmen went through finals for the first time this week. Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki claimed this was a factor in the team’s preparation for Miami.
Ohio State players often talk about coming out with the ‘first punch.’ The RedHawks scored in the first 3:47 of all three periods, squashing any momentum the Buckeyes could muster.
“They skated well, they certainly played hungry,” Osiecki said about the RedHawks. “They dictated a lot of things. There were times that we were chasing.”
Miami and Ohio State alternated misplayed pucks by the goalies, which led to goals in the third period.
Chris Crane scored his 10th of the season after Connor Knapp misplayed a dump-in along the boards, which allowed Crane to fire the puck into a vacated net. The goal put Ohio State within one at 9:16 of the third.
Ohio State goalie Cal Heeter misplayed a puck behind his own net 14:20 into the third. Reilly Smith alertly took the loose puck and found Jimmy Mullin, who put the puck past an out of position Heeter to give the RedHawks a 5-3 lead.
In between the Crane and Mullin goals, the Buckeyes had a chance to tie the game midway through the third period after trailing by two on a shot that took a wacky bounce off referee Brent Gawlik, the top of the net, and Knapp into the back of the net. By rule, the goal was waved off, despite the crowd of 4,450 thinking the goal had been scored.
“It was certainly interesting to see; pucks were bouncing all over the place,” Osiecki said. “We had a goofy bounce for a goal, another one; goal. I thought there were a lot of interesting bounces going back and forth.”
“We were a little lucky with a couple of bounces,” Blasi said.
Ohio State knotted the game at one less than 40 seconds after Czarnik’s first period goal when Darik Angeli collected a rebound off of a Justin DaSilva shot.
“We score one, we gave one right back to them,” Blasi said.
Miami’s Blake Coleman scored 1:33 into the second to give the RedHawks the lead for good. Tomassoni scored short-handed on a breakaway three minutes before the second intermission to put Miami up 3-1, capitalizing off of a Ben Gallacher turnover.
Ohio State was able to convert on the power play 53 seconds later when Nick Oddo converted on a two-on-one chance.
The victory marks the 600th in Miami program history. The two squads rematch in Oxford Saturday evening.