COLUMBUS, Ohio – A third-period goal from sophomore Jeff McNeil lifted the Ohio State men’s hockey team to a 2-2 tie with No. 18 Western Michigan (12-6-6, 6-6-5-3 CCHA) Saturday in Kalamazoo, Mich. The Buckeyes (12-9-2, 7-7-2-2 CCHA) won the shootout, 2-1 in three rounds, to earn the extra point in the CCHA standings.
The Buckeyes came from behind twice in the game. Junior Cory Schneider scored unassisted in the first to tie the score at 1-all. The Broncos had the only goal of the second period to again take the lead, but McNeil’s tally deadlocked the score midway through the third, marking the sixth time this season Ohio State rallied for a win or tie when trailing after 40 minutes. In the shootout Buckeye junior goalie Cal Heeter made two saves, with senior John Albert and Sergio Somma tallying.
Western Michigan controlled play through much of the first, outshooting the Buckeyes, 12-3, but the teams ended the stanza tied at 1. Max Campbell opened the scoring at 16:16, set up by Greg Squires. With time winding down, Schneider took advantage of a turnover by the Bronco goalie and put the puck into the net before he could get back in position, tallying with less than two seconds on the clock. Each team had one power-play chance in the period.
The Broncos scored the only goal of the second period just 1:20 into the stanza when Chase Balisy tallied his third goal of the weekend, with assists from Dane Walters and Shane Berschbach. Shots were 11-9 in favor of the Buckeyes, with the majority of the Buckeyes’ shots coming in the second half of the stanza. Ohio State had the lone chance with the man advantage.
In the third, McNeil tied the game with his first career goal, scoring at 9:35. Kyle Reed passed out from the wall to McNeil in front of the net and he was able to turn and put the puck high when Western Michigan goalie Jerry Kuhn dropped down. Schneider had the second assist on the goal. The Buckeyes put 17 shots on goal in the period, with Heeter stopping all eight shots he faced. Ohio State had one power-play chance at 6:49 of the period.
Each team had chances in the five-minute overtime, with the goalies standing tall. Heeter had five saves in the extra session, with Kuhn making two stops. Each team earned one point in the league standings for ending the game tied.
Round one of the shootout saw Dennis Brown score for the Broncos and Albert respond for the Buckeyes, beating Kuhn five-hole. Heeter made a save on Campbell in the second round, followed by a goal from Somma, who scored low. Heeter then had a save on Balisy in round three to secure the win.
For the game, Heeter played 64:53 and had 32 saves. Kuhn played all 65 minutes and made 31 stops. Western Michigan outshot Ohio State, 34-33, in the game.
There were no power-play goals in the game. Ohio State was scoreless on three chances, while Western Michigan had a Buckeye opponent season-low one opportunity.
Postgame Notes Ohio State will return to Columbus next weekend, hosting No. 8 Notre Dame Friday and Saturday at 7:05 p.m. in Value City Arena.
Schneider had his second career two-point game and first since posting two assists at Lake Superior State Oct. 24, 2009.
McNeil’s first career goal came in his 42nd career game.
The Buckeyes tied their season low with two penalties and had a season-low one minor penalty and one power-play attempt against.
Ohio State now has four wins and two ties this season when trailing after the second period. The squad is 3-0-2 in overtime and has won both shootouts.
Albert had his point streak ended at seven (5g, 5a).
The Buckeyes were held scoreless on the power play for the first time in four games. The squad has not allowed a power-play goal in three of the last four outings.