COLUMBUS, Ohio – A tough penalty kill, clutch power-play goal from Sergio Somma and 40 saves from Cal Heeter led the Ohio State men’s hockey team to a 1-0 win over No. 7/8 Miami Friday in Value City Arena.
Somma put the Buckeyes ahead 1-0 with a power-play tally with just 8.9 seconds remaining in the second period. In the third, Heeter had 16 saves and the Buckeye penalty kill stopped a 5-on-3 against for nearly a minute as the Buckeyes held on for the second shutout of the season.
The Buckeyes, on a five-game winning streak, are now 11-8-1 on the year and 6-6-1-1 in the CCHA. They will face off against the RedHawks (11-7-3, 8-5-2-1 CCHA) at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Value City Arena.
The teams were scoreless after the first period, with Heeter stopping all 13 shots he faced. Ohio State put five shots on net. Each team had two power-play chances. The squads ended the period skating 4-on-4 after a Buckeye penalty during a Buckeye power play.
The game remained scoreless until there were just 8.9 seconds remaining in the second period. With Ohio State on the power play, a shot by freshman Alex Szczechura was saved. It went to senior John Albert, who also put the puck on net. The rebound went right to Somma in the slot, and he scored into the empty net with Miami goalie Cody Reichard out of position. Shots were 12-11 in favor of Ohio State in the period.
In the third period, Heeter made 16 saves to preserve the shutout. The Buckeye penalty kill was 2-for-2, including stopping a 5-on-3 advantage for 57 seconds midway through the period. Ohio State had one power-play chances at 13:39 but did not convert.
Ohio State was outshot in the game, 40-24. Heeter played all 60 minutes for the win, his third career shutout and first since Oct. 9 at Quinnipiac.
The Buckeye penalty kill was 6-for-6 in the game. Ohio State was 1-for-4 on the power play.
Somma now has a team-best 12 goals, including seven on the power play to rank among the nation’s leaders. He and Albert, who is tied with Shane Sims for the team lead with 13 assists, are first on the squad with 20 points each.
Albert is on a five-game scoring streak, with a 2-4-6 line over the stretch.
Sims blocked a team-best seven shots in the contest.
Szczechura leads the Buckeye freshmen with 12 points after his assist. He has four assists in his last three games combined.
The game was the second time this season Heeter had at least 40 saves, after tying his career high with 46 stops against Michigan Dec. 4.
The game was the first time this season Ohio State won when scoring less than three goals.
Mark Oseicki, Ohio State Head Coach
On keeping up with Miami’s fast pace
“Well, you’d like to slow them down, but they play their style regardless. I mean, they’re Top 10 in scoring nationally, so you know they’re good. But once we got over their fast paced movement we started our feet and began to make things happen.”
On the team’s overall improvement after a slow start
“I think the players are more relaxed, they’re getting used to the way our coaching staff coaches and they feel like they’re making drastic improvements as a team.”
On Cal Heeter’s performance tonight
“For the most part we did a good job of collapsing around the goal to help Cal out but he played extremely well. Most of it was Cal’s instinctive play tonight.”
Cal Heeter, Ohio State junior goalie
Thoughts on the game
“The game started off good. They had a few shots early. When that happens, it’s always good to get tested early. Our defensemen that were in front were blocking guys out. If I get to see the puck, it makes it easy for me.”
On starting all 20 games this season
“It makes it easier for me knowing you are going to play every day. It really helps getting on a roll and getting in a rhythm. It makes us comfortable. I get to build a network with our defensemen. The more we play, the game gets easier for me.”
Enrico Blasi, Miami head coach
On the 5-on-3 penalty kill by Ohio State
“Anytime you can’t score on a 5-on-3 it’s going to be a momentum shifter. They did a job great killing it and Heeter didn’t allow any second chances. It was a turning point in the game.”
On the game
“It was an up and down game, which leads to great hockey. There was a great crowd tonight, too. It was a one-goal game where Ohio State played hard and deserved to win.”
On the rivalry with Ohio State
“Tonight was one of the best crowds I’ve seen at Ohio State in my 12 years at Miami. It was electric in here tonight. The rivalry is a great in-state series and it’s what sports is about. I hope it returns to a home-and-home setup next year.”