Local Products Help Miami Win in Columbus

It took the Miami hockey team some time to get going in its first game in three weeks, but once the RedHawks did on New Year’s Eve against Ohio State, the Buckeyes didn’t seem to have an answer. Miami used a four-goal third period to take down the no. 9/10 Buckeyes 6-3 on their home ice in Columbus.

Recovering From a Rough Start

The game could not have started much worse for the RedHawks. On the opening shift, Ohio State’s Tommy Parran sent the puck on net from the center red line. It eluded Miami goalie Ryan Larkin to give the Buckeyes the lead nine seconds into the contest

“Any time you give up a goal like that you kind of wonder if it’s gonna be your night or not,” Miami head coach Enrico Blasi said.

Ohio State extended the lead to 2-0 before Miami responded with goals in the closing seconds of the first period and opening minutes of the second to tie the game at 2-2. The RedHawks carried the play for stretches of the second period following the tying goal, but the Buckeyes regained the lead on David Gust’s goal at the 17:25 mark. The game, however, was far from over.

“I think we knew the whole game that we could beat them if we just stuck to our game and played hard,” Miami freshman Carson Meyer said. “Some guys spoke up in the second intermission and we came out with a little fire in the third and we just finished our chances, that’s all it came down to.”

Miami dominated the third period, outshooting Ohio State 14-1 in the final frame. Ohio State goalie Christian Frey made some big saves to maintain the lead for the first half of the period, but he could not keep the RedHawks at bay. Miami scored three times in a 3:34 span to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead, then added an empty-net goal for good measure.

“Obviously it wasn’t the start that we wanted but I think that we responded well,” Miami sophomore Kiefer Sherwood said. “We know we have a good team here, we really believe it, and when we play like that and continually get better I think we’re gonna be a tough team to beat.”

Ohio State outshot Miami 8-7 in the first period but managed just seven shots on goal in the next two periods combined. The New Year’s Eve tilt was the first game after long breaks for both teams, and while Ohio State enjoyed a better start than Miami, the Buckeyes did not do enough to win.

“We just didn’t take care of the puck…we didn’t play with a sense of urgency,” Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said in a postgame press conference. “When you’re playing a very good hockey team, you gotta bring it. There’s no excuse.”

Central Ohioans Star in Columbus

As if the loss wasn’t bad enough for the Buckeyes, two players who helped fuel the RedHawk offense hail from the Columbus area in Meyer and Sherwood, who combined for three goals and four points in the win.

With Miami trailing 2-1 in the second period, an Ohio State turnover led to an odd-man rush for the RedHawks. Meyer finished the play by burying a feed from Anthony Louis for the fifth goal of his freshman season. Meyer also notched an assist in the game and said it was good to be back playing in Columbus, especially considering the result.

“It feels awesome,” Meyer said. “Obviously I got a bunch of friends and family in the crowd so it feels nice to get that goal and that win right in front of them.”

Sherwood also made some big plays in this return to central Ohio. Less than three minutes after Miami tied the game at three in the third period, he gave the RedHawks their first lead with what became the game-winning goal. Then, 53 seconds later, he buried his ninth goal of the season to give Miami some insurance on the way to winning its final game of 2016.

Conference Play’s Coming

The New Year’s Eve affair can be looked at as a one-game tune-up for both teams, as Miami and Ohio State now prepare for league games. The RedHawks sit seventh in the NCHC standings and look to make some progress this Friday and Saturday when they host St. Cloud State. While the Buckeyes are now in the midst of a five-game homestand, things aren’t getting any easier for them. Ohio State hosts third-ranked Penn State Friday and Saturday in Big Ten action.